The Grand Island Senior High volleyball team made sure the seniors left their final home match with a victory.
Thanks to aggressive serving and consistent hitting, the Islander claimed a 25-9, 25-22, 25-14 victory over Kearney Thursday.
Grand Island finished with 14 ace serves and had only eight hitting errors. For the most part, GISH coach Bill Root said he liked what he saw, especially since Grand Island was coming off a four-set loss to North Platte on Tuesday.
“I thought we were very competitive tonight against Kearney, more so than what we were early on against North Platte,” he said. “I thought we came out and played very well.”
Grand Island’s serving gave the Bearcats all kinds of problems in the first set. Sarah Splattstoesser served a 7-0 run with five ace serves for a 20-6 lead. In all, the Islanders had seven of their ace serves in the opening stanza.
And whenever the Islanders didn’t get an ace serve, Kearney was passing over free balls that gave them easy attacks.
Kearney coach Melissa Petersen said serve receive was an issue.
“We just did not come ready to play tonight for whatever reason in that first set, especially on serve receive,” Petersen said. “Our serve receive has gotten better but we still are plagued in stretches where we are struggling with that.”
The Islanders appeared headed to an easy victory in the second set in jumping out to a 20-13 lead, thanks to three kills from Sierra Peterson, who was stepping in for Kirsten Sullivan. The senior went down in the first set with what Root said was a sprained ankle.
However, Notre Dame volleyball commitment Katie Higgins kept Kearney in the set by pounding down six of her eight kills in the second set. Higgins final kill brought the Bearcats to within 21-19. Most of those points came with setter Maggie McGowan serving in a 4-0 run.
After Kearney brought it to 22-21, Ashton Riedy recorded a kill, followed by a Bearcat error, gave Grand Island a 24-21 lead. The Islanders eventually the second set on a Kearney error.
Grand Island carried the momentum into the third set as Taylor Kinne served a 5-0 run for an 11-5 lead and never looked back.
Riedy led the Islander attack with nine kills, while Kinne added seven and Peterson and Abby Crouch each chipped in six. McKenzie Fyfe had 34 set assists.
Root said it was a good win for the Islanders, especially with the Class A, District 2 Tournament coming up. Grand Island will open with Bellevue West at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at Omaha Marian.
“It’s a nice win for the girls since it’s their final home match, especially for the seniors,” Root said. “It gives them confidence going into next week.”
Kearney (6-22)..........................9 22 14
Grand Island (16-17)....................25 25 25
KEARNEY (Kills-aces-blocks) — Carrie Oklund 0-0-0, Karmin Moncrief 3-2-0, Jaydn Trimble 5-0-0, Leigha Limbach 2-0-0, Katie Higgins 8-0-2, Maggie McGowan 3-2-0, Emily Koski 1-0-0, Morgan Wicht 0-0-0, Cassie Mathews 0-0-0.
GRAND ISLAND (Kills-aces-blocks) — Haley Weakland 0-0-0, Sierra Peterson 6-0-1, Sarah Splattstoesser 0-6-0, Abby Crouch 6-0-1, Ashton Riedy 9-1-1, McKenzie Fyfe 0-3-0, Kirsten Sullivan 4-0-0, Madison Huismann 0-1-0, Taylor Kinne 7-2-1, Brittany Blase 6-0-1, Megan Scheler 0-0-0.
SET ASSISTS — K: McGowan 19. GI: Fyfe 34.