Volleyball: Lady Hubs split season series with Ottawa

Sophomore Payton Hale serves for the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity volleyball team during Tuesday's match against Ottawa. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle avenges early-season loss, defeats Pirates 25-15, 25-22

ROCHELLE — The first time Rochelle and Ottawa met this season, the Pirates were the aggressors who had the Lady Hubs on their heels. That wasn’t the case Tuesday evening, when Rochelle’s varsity volleyball team hosted Ottawa for an Interstate 8 Conference rematch.

Behind 21 assists from senior Clare Green and 17 kills from junior Sylvia Hasz, Rochelle’s offense was in sync on Tuesday, collapsing the Pirate defense and forcing Ottawa into several hitting errors. After losing to the Pirates earlier this season, Rochelle earned its revenge, defeating Ottawa 25-15, 25-22. The Lady Hubs (7-9) host Plano for Senior Night on Thursday.

“I think we really picked on their hitters tonight,” Green said. “We knew what shots they were going to make and we were reading them much better on defense. Sylvia and I have learned a lot about how we each play and there isn’t a ball that she and I aren’t going after it 100 percent. It’s really nice that we’ve been able to develop that trust in each other.”

Seniors Alexis Sanford and Ellie Kinn combined for 15 digs in the match, which started with Rochelle building a six-point lead, 15-9, midway through in the first set. Needing a chance to reset, Ottawa called a timeout to stall the Lady Hub momentum, but Rochelle continued to attack, rallying behind Green and Hasz to increase its lead to as many as 13 points.

Trailing in the match, Ottawa briefly bounced back in the second set, opening with a 6-3 run. The Pirates immediately saw their advantage fade away, however, as the Lady Hubs scored four straight points with Hasz on the serve to take the lead. With the match tied 10-10 and sophomore Anna Harvey serving for the Lady Hubs, Rochelle broke off an 8-0 run. The Pirates fought back to within two points, but a hitting error on the Ottawa side sealed the victory.

“With everything happening between COVID-19 and having so much time off, I think we’ve made the most of our season,” Green said. “We’re ready to get one last win on Thursday. I want to show my teammates that I work hard for them and I want them to work hard for me.”

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