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Senior night a celebration for Saxon spikers

Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

Senior setter Abby Zull was happy to have the Saxons were able score their first victory in an evening, best-of-five match-up on Senior Night at Hastings High School Monday.

The Hastings varsity volleyball team has scored a handful of victories at Saturday tournaments this season, including one previously over the Ottawa Hills girls who came to Hastings Monday. The Saxons knocked off the Bengals in three sets, 25-5, 25-14, 25-16.

We did way better on offense tonight,” Zull said. “Our hitting was way better. We hit the corners like we should, like we're told all the time in practice. That was really good. I also think our passes were really good. They are mostly to me, so that made things easy on my part.”

The one telling the Saxons what to do most of the nights in practice is head coach Scott Zull, Abby's father, who joined Abby with his wife Julie out on the court as the Saxon program honored three seniors Monday – Abby, Skyler Teske and manager Connie Ricketts.

Teske, like Abby, has played four years of high school volleyball. Teske had a couple big kills late in the third set for side outs that helped keep the Bengals at bay.

“This summer, she worked extremely hard improving her overall game,” coach Zull said of Teske. “She may not lead the team in categories, but she is one of the most consistent players on the court.”

“Connie Ricketts is completing her second year as manager. She does an awesome job organizing and keeping the game and stat sheets. Also in preparation of Saturday tournaments.”

Coach Zull said his girls were passing the ball much better Monday, a focus of the team in practice in the past week.

Coach Zull met his wife Julie playing adult league volleyball in the Big Rapids area. He also had the chance to coach his daughter Jillian Zull, who is an assistant coach with the team.

“They learned to pass a volleyball before they ever touched a basketball,” coach Zull said of his daughters. “It is kind of ingrained into them. When they were little we played volleyball with a beach ball in the house.”

He said he told both his girls that if they didn't want him to be their varsity head coach he would have been willing to step aside. He said it made him feel good that they wanted to play for him.

“Sometimes it is kind of scary, because he goes way harder on me,” Abby said of having her father as a coach. “Other times it is really nice, because he can give me not only the coach's words, but his words too.

“We talk about volleyball all the time, almost every night” Abby said. “We talk about practices. We talk about tournaments. One weekend, we went to Ann Arbor and watched a (University of Michigan) game.”

Abby led the Saxons in serving and assists and was of the team leaders in kills Monday against the Bengals. Skyler Grego and Hannah Slaughter each had a big night serving too. Carly Warner led the Saxons in kills, with Lexi Herblet and Slaugther adding to a balanced attack.

Coach Zull liked to see his girls cutting down on their attack errors Monday.

Kaeli Jo West led the Saxons in digs and passing.

Hastings was scheduled to host Pennfield for its final Interstate-8 Athletic Conference dual of the season last night.

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