ROCHELLE — The Lady Hub varsity volleyball team saw its best chance to snap a three-match losing streak slip through its fingers Saturday afternoon, when Rochelle hosted the Stillman Valley Cardinals and battled to the bitter end across three thrilling sets of nonconference play.
After dropping the first set by only a few points, Rochelle bounced back with a series of runs to claim the second set and force a tiebreaking third set. The Lady Hubs fought to the final point of the third set, but the Cardinals emerged victorious, winning back-to-back service points and handing Rochelle a 23-25, 25-21, 25-27 loss. The Lady Hubs (0-4) face Plano on Tuesday.
“I thought we played a good three sets,” coach Lindsay Suess said. “Clare [Green] had a great game and our front row did a nice job of swinging today. I thought our missed serves were down from earlier in the week and we blocked the ball better. We have to figure out how we can get ourselves out of tough rotations when the other team’s scoring a lot of points against us.”
Despite opening the first set on a 7-2 run, Rochelle slowly saw its lead vanish as Stillman Valley took advantage of some unforced defensive errors from the Lady Hubs. Trailing 1-0 in the match, Rochelle fell behind 7-3 in the second set before the Lady Hubs rallied for four consecutive points. Senior Clare Green facilitated the offense on Saturday, finishing with 34 assists for the Lady Hubs while junior hitter Sylvia Hasz totaled a team-leading 16 kills.
“Those two are definitely our leaders on the court and we definitely need them to perform well,” Suess said. “Their performances throughout the season have been really promising.”
The second-set seesaw continued with the set tied 7-7. Stillman Valley broke off an 8-3 run to take a 15-10 lead before Rochelle recovered to score six consecutive points with senior Morgan Haas on the serve. Sophomore hitter Addie Friestad stepped up on the outside when Hasz rotated to the back row, compiling a season-best 12 kills to aid the Lady Hub attack. Leading 21-19, Rochelle forced Stilllman Valley to burn a timeout before closing the set on a 4-2 run.
The Cardinals erased an early deficit in the third set, scoring seven unanswered points to earn a 10-5 advantage and force a Rochelle timeout. With Lady Hub senior Bella Lodico providing some timely kill shots from the right side, Rochelle clawed back into the match, tying the third set 17-17 before Stillman Valley inched ahead 21-20. Lodico totaled five kills in the match.
Hasz netted a kill shot to lift the Lady Hubs ahead 24-23 with one point needed to seal the victory. But the Cardinals answered the call with two straight points, regaining control before Friestad evened the match at 25-25 with a kill from the outside. The Lady Hub defense was unable to settle two kill shot attempts from Stillman Valley over the final two points.