The Rolla volleyball team (17-11-3, 5-5 OC) hosted Waynesville for Senior Night on Thursday, Oct. 5. Rolla won at every level with the freshmen earning their first win of the season 27-25, 26-24, the JV winning 25-16, 25-21 and the varsity capping off a great night with a 25-19, 25-17 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs were jumping out of the gym with energy after celebrating their seniors and it showed at the beginning of the first set. Rolla jumped out to a quick lead 8-2 and never trailed after that. Rolla stretched their lead out to 10 and maintained that lead for most of the match. Some passing issues late in the set let Waynesville back in the game, but Rolla still finished strong for a 25-19 win.
The second set wasn't quite as one-sided at the beginning. Waynesville used some great blocking to slow down the Rolla hitting, but that wouldn't last. Early on in the set, Rolla's biggest lead was four points. They built that lead again at 16-12, forcing a Waynesville timeout. From there on out, Rolla never led by fewer than four. They took the first two points after the timeout and went on to finish off the win 25-17.
Megan Brown had a great night hitting on the outside, smacking down 10 kills with no hitting errors. Rebecca Janke locked down the hitting in the middle with seven kills in nine attempts. Janke also added a blocking assist. Shelby Ply had yet another great all around night with six kills, one ace, one assist, two block assists and two digs. Loran Pritchett led the team with 14 assists, while also chipping in two kills and a block assist. Sophie Parsons was right behind her with eight assists, while adding five digs. Seniors Macy Moreland and Ami Ikuenobe shared the team lead in digs with six, while fellow senior Madalyn Franks chipped in five. As a team, Rolla served extremely well. The Lady Bulldogs had just two service errors in 47 attempts.
Rolla is a very senior heavy squad with eight seniors. Some of them have had to miss time this season, while others don't always get consistent playing time, but it was important for head coach Stephanie Pritchett to get all of her seniors quality minutes on Senior Nights.
"It's very very cool," said coach Pritchett about getting to see all of her seniors on the court. "I'm excited for them, they deserve it and now we have another week of volleyball that's super important for Districts."
Rolla was a bit up and down at the end of the first set and the beginning of the second set, but they pushed through to win both sets. It was important for coach Pritchett to see her team fight through some focus issues during sets.
"They lose focus sometimes, but they refocused and went on. It was a nice night. I had confidence they could pull through every point and they did," said Pritchett. "And I didn't have to do a lot to bring then out of it. They just figured it out, that was nice to see."
Rolla only has two regular season matches left before they get into Districts. The Lady Bulldogs already know they're the third seed in the District, so now they can just focus on ironing their game out and getting ready for Districts. They'll have a pair of Ozark Conference matchups on the road against Glendale and Camdenton on Tuesday, Oct. 10 and Thursday, Oct. 12, respectively.