ROCHELLE — The Rochelle volleyball team recognized its six senior players before taking the floor against Sandwich on Thursday.
Seniors Katie Van Hise, Caitlin Hensley, Maggie Duval, Allison Seebach, Gabrielle Harding and Emma Smith share a special bond dating back to when all six girls attended St. Paul Lutheran School and played volleyball for head coach Kristen Edecker. The Lady Hubs were unfortunately without Seebach, who injured her shoulder in practice, and Sandwich took advantage, defeating Rochelle 25-20, 25-18 and dropping the Lady Hubs to 14-10 overall.
“Our seniors have put a lot of time in outside Rochelle volleyball as far as clubs, camps and working on their own,” head coach Molly Sly said. “It’s paid off for them during the high school season and we’ve really appreciated their work during our season and outside our season.”
Thursday was a conference rematch from Sept. 10 when the Indians edged out the Lady Hubs in three sets at Sandwich. With Seebach absent from the varsity lineup, Rochelle had a tough time finding synergy throughout the match, and a tough Sandwich defensive wall made outside scoring chances minimal.
“Allison is a phenomenal blocker, she gets her serves in and she hits the ball really well,” Sly said. “She runs a lot of different plays through the middle, and when our middles are running hard, it gives our outside hitters an extra advantage. Her absence is felt in every match we play without her. We missed her tonight.”
The Lady Hubs held a brief lead in the second set, going ahead 13-9 after a kill from Van Hise. Sandwich rallied to tie the set 16-16, though, and the Indians closed the match on a 9-2 run that saw several attempted kills from the Rochelle side blocked down to the floor. Duval led Rochelle with six kills, while sophomore Sylvia Hasz added five kills and six digs.
Junior Clare Green recorded 12 assists and eight digs in the loss, with sophomore Zoey Tabor and Duval combining for nine digs.
“We need to work on avoiding the block,” Sly said. “That’s what killed us tonight. When we’re blocked, we need to work on getting the ball back up.”