Saxon spikers continue to make gains on the court
Hastings' Phoebe Schantz tries to flip the ball over the Jackson Northwest block during their teams' Interstate-8 Athletic Conference dual in Hastings Wednesday. (Photo by Brett Bremer)
Jackson Northwest had control from the start Wednesday.
The Hastings varsity volleyball team fell 25-4, 25-5, 25-11 to the visiting Mounties in the Saxons' first home match of the season, an Interstate-8 Athletic Conference dual.
Northwest's Mary Crowley served the first dozen points of the opening set for her team.
The Saxons had struggled with their passing at times, couldn't match the Mounties' size at the net, and coach Scott Zull said his team would be working on serving in the coming days after a few too many service errors.
There were bright spots for the Saxons as well.
“We're getting better,” coach Zull said. “We're playing better as a team, but they're still making a lot of young-team mistakes is the best way to put it. I am trying to get them to hit to the corners because the corners are open, and we're not able to complete that. We're trying to find that open spot and get the ball there.
“The thing I really like about the team is, you saw the scores and they never, ever gave up. They kept fighting hard. It is a great group of girls. I really believe that.”
A few of the Saxons' best attacks came from Lexi Herblet at the net and from libero Kaeli Jo West out of the back row. West is still settling into her libero role, which she moved into from a defensive specialist spot a couple weeks ago.
“(West) has definitely improved throughout the season,” coach Zull said. “She has come a long way. The back row attack from her is probably one of our most consistent plays at this time. She doesn't get a lot of kills yet, but they're good hits.”
Coach Zull said seeing West becoming more confident in her ability to cover the court prompted the move to the new position.
Hannah Slaughter was another of the Saxons' kill leaders. Setter Abby Zull led the Saxons in assists.
The Saxons were back in action at Saranac's Pink Out invitational Saturday.
Hastings fell 25-15, 25-15 to Calvin Christian and 25-17, 25-12 to Maple Valley in pool play, then rebounded to beat Wyoming Lee 25-7, 25-10 after a short break. Saranac, ranked first in the bracket play, ended the Saxons' day with a 25-12, 25-22 win.
Abby Zull had seven aces and only one error on 37 service attempts throughout the day. She also had 20 assists and eight kills. Herblet had six kills and Slaughter five at the tournament. West and Skyler Teske led the Saxons in passing.
The varsity was also happy to welcome Chelsea Ertner to the line-up, up from the JV Saturday. She had three kills, two assists and a pair of aces at the tournament.