MENDOTA — After the Mendota volleyball team struggled in Tuesday’s season opener at La Salle-Peru, Spikers coach John Holzman emphasized passing in Wednesday’s practice.
“After we played L-P, we watched the video and we had we like 50 bad passes, so that was our focus in practice on Wednesday,” Holzman said. “All we did in practice was work on our passes all practice. The girls needed to get their passing down because without a pass you can’t do anything else.”
In Thursday’s home opener, MHS used its improved passing to get past Hall.
The Spikers overcame Tuesday’s loss in a big way as they rolled to a 25-19, 25-12 victory over the Lady Red Devils.
“I thought it was a really good game, and our passing really improved from the last game,” MHS senior outside hitter JoEllyn Parks said. “We really worked together well as a team this game.”
And put Tuesday’s loss squarely in the past.
“Our first match against L-P was basically a slap in the face,” Holzman said. “It was like, ‘Hey, we’re 3A too and we’ve got to pick up our game.’ This was a good win to build some confidence, and hopefully that will carry over for the rest of the season. Tonight was a good bounce back night.”
While MHS (1-1) flourished, the Lady Red Devils struggled.
For a second consecutive match, Hall (0-2) fell behind early and was unable to overcome big runs by the opposition.
“They are a good team and tall, but like I said on Tuesday, we’ve just got to gel as a team,” Hall coach Megan Nation said. “Passing was a little bit better and defense was a little bit better (than in Tuesday’s loss to Bureau Valley), but we had hitting errors, and once we got down, we started making mistakes.”
The Spikers blitzed Hall early in both sets.
With MHS leading 5-4, it went on a 6-0 surge — helped by a Parks ace and an Abby Bromenschenkel kill — to take an 11-4 cushion, and the lead grew to 18-6 following a 5-0 run.
“It was a good start that really helped us a lot and pushed us through the rest of the game,” Parks said. “It really boosted our confidence.”
Hall battled back at the end of the set and pulled to as close as five points, but a kill by Bromenschenkel ended the game and gave the Spikers the opening set.
MHS jumped to the early lead in the second game as it built advantages of 6-2, 8-3 and 13-5.
However, unlike the first set, the Spikers kept the pedal to the metal as they finished the set on a 7-0 run, which was highlighted by back-to-back match-ending kills by Parks.
Elivia Ambler finished with eight points, six assists and three digs, while Parks put down five kills. Amy Devitt had seven points and four kills, while Brooke Carroll had seven assists.
Vanessa Olivares had 12 assists for Hall, while Brooke Keegan had four kills and four assists. Libero Lexi Piccatto had nine digs.
Note: Mendota swept the night as it won the sophomore contest 25-12, 25-17, the freshman A contest 25-13, 25-19 and the freshman B contest 25-18, 15-8.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.