ROANOKE – Dropping the first set could spook a volleyball team.
Roanoke-Benson is not one of them due to history. In both 2015 and ’16, they lost the opening one, but eventually hung a loss on Peoria Christian.
The same deal played out on Sept. 20, as the Rockets toppled Tri-County Conference rival 22-25, 25-18, 25-12 at Dick Broers Gymnasium.
R-B (13-7, 6-0) trailed 3-0 at the start of the match, which forced them to go into catchup mode.
They did hold the lead on five occasions, lastly at 21-20 on a combo block by Kamryn Kearfott and Whitney Leman. The Chargers (12-6, 4-2) received a kill and service ace from Anna Rodman to take the set.
“I just said we need to pick it up,” commented Rockets’ Jodie Sauder of what she told the squad prior to the start of the second. “Obviously, we had to play a little more competitively to get past them. We were not playing up to our potential.”
R-B, who recorded 11 kills in the opening set, saw that number rise to 15 in the second. Consecutive ones from Kearfott and Leman gave the hosts a 19-16 advantage.
The hosts received a combined 37 kills from Madalyn Oltman (11), Kearfott (10), Sauder (10) and Leman (six).
“We’ve used a little bit of a different rotation,” Jodie Sauder pointed out. “All of my hitters have been getting an equal number of sets. By doing that, that puts a lot of pressure on the defense which way the ball is going.”
Paige Sauder also handed out 24 assists and served 15 points, seven of which were aces. Monge provided 11 assists, while Rossman (19) and Oltman (18) combined for 37 digs.
Outside of a one-all tie, R-B controlled the deciding set, building the lead to 19-9 following an ace from Paige Sauder.
Rodman and Alexandra Evans each had seven kills for Peoria Christian, while Sara Poretsky recorded 16 assists.
The Chargers unveiled a bit of a wrinkle in the form of a set attack with possession of the ball.
“We told them it could be multiple different ways to get it over,” said Jodie Sauder. “How they chose, hit or set or tip or whatever, they would find a way to get it over.”
Monge and Hannah Veatch added six points apiece.