ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro Trojan volleyball team swept a pair of two-game matches from Council Grove in their season opener, Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Brown Gymnasium.
The Trojans looked particularly sharp in the opening match en route to a 15-8, 15-11 win.
The Trojans jumped to a 9-0 lead in the first game and cruised to the victory.
The second game came a little tougher. Council Grove led 2-0 and eventually extended the lead to 7-3. Hillsboro battled back slowly with five unanswered points, but the Trojans needed eight different servers to get it done.
The Braves came back with a 4-0 run before the Trojans put the game away with seven straight points from five servers.
Holly Lindsay paced the Trojans with a perfect 13-for-13 serving performance for the two games and Jill Hein was 19-for-21 on serve-receives.
As a team, the Trojans’ service percentage was just under 86 percent and 83 percent on serve-receives.
In the second match, Hillsboro started Game 1 slowly but came back to win 16-14. Their serving percentage dropped to 76.2 percent but they managed a perfect 23-for-23 in serve receives.
“I thought the first match we had great intensity and communication,” said coach Collette Burton. “When we moved onto the second match, just sitting down and relaxing in between kind of brought us down a little bit.
“We struggled at first getting going and dug ourselves into a hole. But they decided to get going again and pulled it out. I was proud of them.”
The second game of the match was close, too, but Hillsboro prevailed 15-13.
Hillsboro was a perfect 23-for-23 on serve receives during the second match, including a 12-for-12 performance from Robyn Penner.
For the four games, Hillsboro completed 84 percent of its serves, 90.4 percent of its serve-receives, 75.5 percent of its attack attempts and was 86.3 percent successful on setting.
Hein registered 12 blocks and four stuffs to lead her team in both categories.
Lindsay finished with 19 of 21 serves in play for a 95.2 percent rating, and was 60 of 71 in setting with 23 assists.
Shannon Kroeker and Hein each had nine kills on the night, accounting for all but four of their team’s total.
Burton was pleased with her team’s level of play so early in the season.
“The girls played a great four games,” she said. “I was really excited about their passes and serve-receives. We were really moving the ball around.
“One thing we do need to work on is the back-row attack,” she added. “We were struggling a little bit, putting those into the net. But we’re going to keep working on that and improve.
“I think it’s an awesome way to start the season,” she added. “The girls feel good about it. Hopefully, it will carry on through the next few games.”
The Trojans were scheduled to play their next matches yesterday at MCAA rival Sterling. Complete results will appear in next week’s Free Press.
On Saturday, Hillsboro will compete at the Centre Invitational Tournament. Next Tuesday, the Trojans travel to Halstead to battle the Dragons in MCAA play. The action begins at 5 p.m.