Highland wins 3-0, still room for growth
RIVERSIDE — The Highland volleyball team beat WACO in three sets, Tuesday, but head coach Chris Rath said her team has yet to reach its full potential.
“(The win) doesn’t feel as good as it should,” Rath said. “We had a lot of hitting and serving errors. We had more errors than we should have allowed.”
The Huskies had 25 killing errors to just 23 successful kills.
Highland was sluggish out of the gate in the second set, trailing 4-9. It tied the score at 13-13. After it trailed 17-19, it scored five straight points.
With the score 23-23, Highland junior Morgan Craig closed the game with two aces for the win.
“It felt great,” Craig said. “I felt a little pressure, but it was awesome.”
Craig finished second on the team with five aces on 13-14 serving. She had four kills and four digs.
A pair of hitting errors hurt WACO to close the second set.
“The second game at 23-23 we shanked two balls, we can’t do that,” said WACO head coach Jay Coble.
The third set was even closer. With a 12-4 lead, the Huskies let WACO back in the game. There were three late ties at 20-20, 22-22 and 23-23. Craig had another chance to close the game with two aces but this time only scored one.
The Huskies took the game 26-24.
“We should have controlled our hits and got less errors,” Craig said. “We should have got our hits in and played more as a team. Not let the pressure get to us.”
Coble was content with the improved performance his team had despite the loss.
“In the last game at 24-24 we over passed the one and then we had a couple great ups and got a tip,” Coble said. “Am I happy? Yeah, we are getting better, but we need to win games.”
In the first game there was a 15-15 tie. Highland subsequently closed the game on a 10-4 run. Junior Chelsey Lampe scored the game-winning point on an ace.
“With her winning the ace that got us a lot of relief,” Craig said. “
Mistakes crippled Highland as it let WACO back in the final two games. Movement on defense also hurt the team.
“We should have moved our feet more,” Craig said. “We should have played more as a team. We let down. We shouldn’t have let the pressure get to us. We let the errors get to us, which brought us down.”
This performance followed up arguably their best match of the season, Thursday.
“We did really good against Louisa-Muscatine,” Craig said. “We beat them in three also. That was a better game for us. We were more on our game and less errors.”
Highland was successful on 82.4 percent of its serves, which secured the 3-0 win.
“Serving wise we came back [strong],” Rath said. Our serves are what kept us in the games. Our serves are what won us the games.”
Freshman Kelsey Hora had 11 digs and served at a 93.8 percent clip.
“She had some awesome serves and some good digs,” Rath said. She kept the ball going. She really helped the team get back in the game.”
Senior Jordan Rath had a team-high six aces on 17-18 serving.
WACO drops to 3-4, 0-3 and will face Wapello Thursday.
Highland improves to 8-6, 3-0 and will play at Iowa Mennonite, Thursday.