MAPLE PARK — Looking for an upset over the undefeated Kaneland Knights, Rochelle’s varsity volleyball team hung tough over a majority of the first set on Thursday, when the Lady Hubs traveled for their second Interstate 8 matchup of the week after topping Sycamore on Tuesday.
Despite a promising start from the Lady Hubs, Kaneland’s high-powered offensive attack was too much for the Rochelle defense, which struggled with serve-receives and missed digs in a 16-25, 15-25 loss against the Knights. Senior Clare Green totaled eight assists and junior Sylvia Hasz recorded six kills for the Lady Hubs (3-6), who finished 11-for-23 on digs in the loss.
“They were hitting the ball very hard and I thought Kaneland did a great job of digging nearly everything we put over the net,” coach Lindsay Suess said. “We need to work on some of our blocking in the front row and we need to work on getting better touches up there.”
Rochelle opened the match with a slim 9-8 advantage in the first set, taking advantage of multiple service errors from the Knights. Neither team was able to take control of the match over the first 30 points, with both teams tied 15-15 after sophomore Payton Hale fired an ace over the net for the Lady Hubs. Kaneland’s offense quickly fired up after Rochelle evened the match, however, rallying behind hitter Maddie Buckley and scoring three straight points.
“I thought our girls had some good touches on our blocks which helped slow the ball down for our back row,” Suess said. “I thought we were moving really well early in the first set.”
Leading 18-15 after a Lady Hub timeout, Kaneland continued pressuring the Rochelle defense, while the Lady Hubs had trouble making quality first touches to initiate offense. The Knights closed out the first set with a 10-1 run before carrying the momentum into the second set, where Kaneland took an 11-5 lead and forced Rochelle to call its third timeout of the match.
Rochelle was unable to mount a comeback, with Kaneland surging ahead 18-9 and stopping play with a Lady Hub timeout once again before the Knights coasted to victory with a 7-6 run. The Lady Hubs will face LaSalle-Peru and Coal City on the road at LaSalle-Peru this weekend.