After dropping their home opener to Central A&M in a three-set match played on Aug. 24, Nokomis bounced back to spoil Litchfield’s home opener with a 25-15, 25-16 straight set decision on Aug. 26. The junior Redskins also found Simmons Gym to their liking as they defeated the Panthers 25-14, 25-10.
Both varsity squads played tit for tat in the first set as neither team could establish superiority. After the Redskins secured a 10-7 lead, Litchfield would rally for two points behind a Taylor Brakenhoff kill, followed by a service point by Annika Rhodes, but two out of bounds hits by the Panthers helped provide a three-point cushion for Nokomis.
Again Litchfield trimmed the deficit to two, but the remainder of the set belonged to the Redskins as they rattled off seven consecutive points and led 22-12 before Litchfield would add three more tallies to the scoresheet. Audrey Sabol would close out the set from the service line on a low liner that hit the top of the net and trickled over for a 25-15 first set Redskin win.
Set two paralleled the first with neither team leading by more than three points in the early stages. With Nokomis serving in set one, it was Litchfield’s turn to get on the scoreboard first and that they did as Blair Johnson and Emma Walch combined for a front row block that resulted in the first point of the set.
The two teams played even Stephen as was indicated by the score which was tied at 2-2, 4-4, 8-8 and 9-9 before Nokomis rallied for seven consecutive points and took charge with a 16-9 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.
With the sizable lead and set one in the books, the Redskins momentum led to a 9-6 scoring edge down the stretch and they closed out the match win 25-16.
For Nokomis, Audrey Sabol led the front line attack with five kills. The 5’9” junior middle hitter has recorded 12 downed spikes in the first two games of the young season. She also accounted for three blocks at the net.
Sabol was supported by senior Presley Lamb with three kills, junior Addison Dangbar had two and freshman Rean Ward and senior Skylar Stewart each had one.
Leading the Redskins in points was junior Hailey Engelman with eight, including two aced serves. Stewart recorded seven points and an ace while senior Presley Lamb scored six points. Dangbar had five points, including an ace, while junior Emily Cress had three points and two aces. Junior Natalie Engelman chipped in a point.
Lamb also led the team in assists with seven and H. Engelman had three. Cress dug out nine balls, followed by Dangbar with seven. Lamb, H. Engelman, Ward and Stewart all had two digs and N. Engelman had one. Stewart had three blocks and H. Engelman had two.
For the Panthers, junior Blair Johnson served two aces, put down two kills, stretched for four blocks and dug out five balls.
Sophomore Annika Rhodes led the team in kills with four and also recorded a block. Sophomore Amy Frerichs had four digs and one assist playing in the libero position. Emma Walch had five assists and a service ace. The 5’10” junior setter also turned in five assists.
Sophomore Kendall Stewart had two kills, a block, a dig and a service ace. Senior Ashley Hickerson was credited with an assist and a dig. Senior Taylor Brakenhoff had a kill and three blocks at the net. Junior Carlee Harmon had a block and two digs.
Both teams will resume play Tuesday, Aug. 31, when the Redskins travel to Gillespie and Litchfield plays at Alton Marquette. Litchfield hosts Hillsboro Thursday, Sept. 1, in a non-conference match, while Nokomis takes to the road again, this time to Shelbyville.
August 26 at Litchfield
Nokomis 25 25
Litchfield 15 16
Service Points: Hailey Engelmn 8, Skylar Stewart 7, Presley Lamb 6, Addison Dangbar 5, Emily Cress 3, Natalie Engelman 1. Aces: Hailey Engleman 2, Emily Cress 2, Addison Dangbar 1, Skylar Stewart 1. Kills: Audrey Sabol 5, Presley Lamb 3, Addison Dangbar 2, Rean Ward 1, Skylar Stewart 1. Assists: Presley Lamb 7, Hailey Engelman 3. Digs: Emily Cress 9, Addison Dangbar 7, Presley Lamb 2, Hailey Engelman 2, Rean Ward 2, Skylar Stewart 2, Natalie Engelman 1. Blocks: Audrey Sabol 3, Skylar Stewart 3, Hailey Engelman 2.
Aces: Blair Johnson 2, Kendall Stewart 1, Emma Walch 1. Kills: Annika Rhodes 4, Blair Johnson 2, Kendall Stewart 2, Taylor Brakenhoff 1. Assists: Emma Walch 5, Ashley Hickerson 1, Amy Frerichs 1. Digs: Blair Johnson 5, Amy Frerichs 4, Carlee Harmon 2, Ashley Hickerson 1, Kendall Stewart 1. Blocks: Blair Johnson 4, Taylor Brakenhoff 3, Emma Walch 2, Annika Rhodes 1, Kendall Stewart 1, Carlee Harmon 1.
Records: Nokomis (1-1); Litchfield (0-1).