The Rolla volleyball team (3-2) returned to their home court on Monday, Sept. 10 for a matchup against Sullivan. After a tough loss to Kickapoo last Thursday, the Lady Bulldogs were looking to bounce back on Monday night and they did just that, sweeping Sullivan 25-14, 25-14.
The Lady Bulldogs got out to a slow start Monday night, as they traded points with Sullivan until the match was locked at eight. After seeing the way Rolla started, head coach Stephanie Pritchett called a timeout to get the team locked in. After that time out, it was all Rolla. They stretched their lead all the way to 17-8 on an excellent serving run from Rebecca Janke that saw multiple aces. The Lady Bulldogs were able to finish the match from there, winning 25-14.
"Just at the very beginning of that first set, they hadn't focused yet. They weren't quite on their game like they needed to be and I called a time out," said coach Pritchett of the first set. "They hadn't quite clued into 'I have to play really hard right now', but I'm just really proud. They pulled it out and they played well."
Rolla got out to a much better start in the second set, building a comfortable lead from the beginning. Sullivan was able to get within four points with the score at 13-9 midway through the set, but Rolla stretched that lead back out to 18-11 on their way to the win. Megan Brown led another strong service run late, recording the second to last point on an ace on the way to a Rolla 25-14 win.
Brown led Rolla offensively with eight kills on the night, adding an ace, two block assists and five digs. Shelby Ply was right behind her with six kills and a pair of block assists. Janke had a great night serving with a team-high four aces and nine points. She added two kills, a solo block, an assisted block and a dig. Sophie Parsons added two aces and eight points to go along with five assists and four digs. Loran Pritchett led the team in assists with 11, while adding six digs, an ace and a solo block.
The JV and freshman teams also had strong showings for Rolla. The freshmen won two hard fought sets 25-19, 26-24, before a wild ride in the JV game. The JV Lady Bulldogs dominated the first set 25-14, but Sullivan was not ready to call it a night. They charged back and beat Rolla in a tough second set 23-25, which led to an equally climactic third set. 25 points was not enough to determine a winner, but Rolla held strong to win 26-24.
The Lady Bulldogs loss to Kickapoo last week was a good early season wake up call for changes that needed to be made. Coach Pritchett say some issues in their passing game that they were able to clean up and it was much improved on Monday night.
"I felt like we were congested in our passing lineup. So I switched what we were doing, trying to get some other people in different positions for passing and also we just scaled it down a little bit," said coach Pritchett. "Instead of having three people passing all the time, we just have two. It really opens up the floor, so they know they have to pass the ball every single time.
"We passed so much better that we were able to run our offense much more effectively," continued the Rolla head coach. "That helped a lot."
Rolla has a very busy week this week, so it was important to get out to a good start on Monday. The Lady Bulldogs faced off against Jeff City on Tuesday, but the results were not available at press time. They then return home to play Union on Thursday, before taking part in the West Plains Tournament over the weekend.
"We did need to get off on a good foot, because we've got Jeff City tomorrow and these guys really wanna beat Jeff City. Tonight was like a game, but it's also like practice too after a weekend," said coach Pritchett. "We're going to have to play hard and get after it. We need these games, we want to get better every single match we played."