LAUREL HILL — Three weeks from now a young Laurel Hill School volleyball team might look at Thursday’s District 1-1A match with Northview as a turning point in the season.
Hobo Coach Kent Zessin shuffled his lineup against the Chiefs in hopes of building some momentum as the regular season winds down. Zessin instincts were spot on.
Powered by a 15-kill performance from Kaylee L’Homme the Hoboes picked up their first district win of the season in a sweep of Northview by scores of 25-23, 25-12, 25-11.
“Tonight, I liked the way we hit the ball,” Zessin said. “We’ve been trying to settle down on our passes to our setters and hit the ball.
“We’ve got two capable hitters (Kaylee L’Homme and Kylee Seymour) that can hit it when given sets and they showed that tonight, especially Kaylee being a captain. She really stepped up and did her job tonight.”
The major move was switching Rachel Welsh to libero in place of Olivia Stewart. Stewart remained in the lineup, but at other positions.
Tonight you could see the difference (with Welsh at libero),” Zessin said. “Not taking anything away from Olivia – she still will play that same roll on the back.
“Rachel initially was going to be our libero. When I lost my two hitters that moved away, I was forced to try and find a hitter. At this point I think our passes are the most important thing.”
The opening points of the first set were sloppy as neither team could get into the flow of the match. Most points were scored not so much by what the scoring team did right, but what the other team did wrong.
Even in the chaotic start L’Homme was making her presence felt with three kills in the set. Laney Fugate’s only kill of the match gave the Hoboes a 9-8 lead as Laurel Hill (4-7, 1-5) surged to a brief lead.
Laurel Hill was up 20-13 and seemed ready to close out the set when Northview rallied behind the play of Leah Fischer and Savanna Roux. The Chiefs tie the set at 21-21 before the teams took turns scoring the next two points.
An unforced error by Northview gave Laurel Hill the lead at 24-23. L’Homme finished off the set with a kill.
Northview never really threatened the final two sets.
The second set was tied 7-7 when the Hoboes broke things open going on a 10-3 run. Seymour had big kill during the run and Lauren Mitchell had an ace.
Welsh served for Laurel Hill to start the third set as the Hoboes jumped in front 7-0 before the first Chief point. Back-to-back kills by L’Homme a few points later put the Hoboes up 9-1 as the pulled away in the set to finish off the match.