Volleyball: Middle hitters spark Lady Hubs against Sandwich

Junior Kennedy Adamski (left) and senior Addie Friestad (right) rise up for a block attempt during the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity volleyball match against Sandwich on Monday. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Adamski, Hale combine for 10 kills in 25-23, 22-25, 25-18 win

ROCHELLE — Middle hitters Payton Hale and Kennedy Adamski came through in a big way for the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity volleyball team during Monday’s match against Sandwich.

With their team looking to rally for a three-set conference victory, Hale and Adamski delivered several kill shots from the middle of the front row, helping the Lady Hubs take an early lead in the third set and ultimately secure a 25-23, 22-25, 25-18 win in Interstate 8 Conference action. The senior Hale and the junior Adamski each finished with five kills for the Rochelle offense.

“I was a little nervous toward the end of the match, but it felt really good to win,” Adamski said. “It’s a huge confidence builder for me. I felt like I was able to hit my tips when they were necessary and I was able to swing more as the match went on. I felt like I was on the attack.”

A trio of service errors from the Lady Hubs (8-5-3, 2-0 Interstate 8) allowed the Indians to take a 12-8 lead in the first set of the match. With senior libero Macy Ramos behind the service line and Adamski in the middle, Rochelle bounced back soon after, stringing together a 10-4 run where Adamski recorded multiple kills to help the Lady Hubs regain control of the match.

“I really love my team,” Adamski said. “I think we’re all really positive and we love each other. Our chemistry outside of the court has really helped us out. I think our strengths are definitely in the front row and I really appreciate our setter Ali [Ohlinger] this year. We’re definitely swinging a lot better this year. We just need to keep working on our communication and our serve receive.”

Senior Addie Friestad smacked the set-sealing kill for the Lady Hubs, who closed the set on a 3-1 spurt with the score tied at 22-22. Friestad and Adamski were the hot hands for Rochelle early in the second set, where the Lady Hubs opened on an 8-0 run to force Sandwich’s first timeout of the match. Friestad led the offense with 12 kills in the match, while sophomore Taelynn Rodeghero added six kills and sophomore setter Ali Ohlinger dished out 27 assists.

“I think we can definitely finish at least second in the conference this season,” Adamski said. “I think we’re capable of beating Sycamore this season, but it’s going to take a lot from all of us.”

The Lady Hubs led 19-14 late in the second set, but a sequence of hitting errors allowed the Indians to score three unanswered points and force a Rochelle timeout. Despite a kill from Adamski putting the Lady Hubs ahead 22-20, Sandwich responded with five consecutive points to not only burn a second Rochelle timeout, but extend the match into a third-set tiebreaker.

The third set was where Hale began heating up for the Lady Hub offense, converting numerous aggressive swings from the middle into kill shots to give Rochelle an early 6-4 advantage. Hitting errors doomed the Indians midway through the third set, allowing the Lady Hubs to break off an 8-4 run and hold a comfortable lead for most of the set. Ohlinger sealed the win with a tip at the net for the final point of the third set. Rochelle will play at Sycamore on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Hale led the Rochelle defense with 14 digs, while sophomore Dempsey Atkinson totaled 10 digs in the match. Ohlinger and Ramos each added five digs for the Lady Hubs, who had three aces and four blocks in the match.