If nothing else, the Hillsboro High School volleyball team definitely didn’t take the easy way out in regards to their final few games of the 2021 season.
Not only did the Toppers take on a solid Vandalia side for the second time this year, but they also had a rematch with SCC champion Staunton and a date with Rochester in their season finale, the number one ranked team in Class 3A.
While the three games yielded just one win, against Vandalia, the Toppers took Staunton to three and fought until the end against the Rockets.
“It’s challenging going into a game like that. Emotions are high because for seven of these girls it’s their last game and we’re preparing to take on Rochester, who is undefeated and state ranked in 3A,” Coach Emily Zimmerman explained. “It can be difficult to stay motivated and positive in that type of situation. I was really proud of the girls for continuing to battle during each play. They played as a team and fought for each point, regardless of the score. Even though we didn’t win, the girls had some great plays and worked together as a team, which is all you can ask for in that situation.”
The Rockets would take the match 25-12, 25-13, despite missing Ferris State University recruit Tatum Outlaw due to injury.
The Hiltoppers tried to maneuver their attack to avoid the Rochester block, and had some success, with Kaci Papin knocking down seven kills and Layne Rupert adding three.
“Our game plan was to minimize mistakes and manage the aspects of the game that we have full control over, such as communication and serving,” Zimmerman said. “After our first few hitting attempts from the outside were blocked, I told our outsides to put the ball down the line as opposed to cross-court. Kaci and Layne did a great job executing that plan and were successful on several occasions.”
Jordan Jacobs led the team in points (five) and assists (eight), while teammate Reagan DeVashier had two points and three assists against the Rockets.
Defensively, the Toppers were busy as Ally Devore led the team with six digs, followed by Papin with four, DeVaisher and Haley Major with three, Rupert, Jacobs and Kylee Pastrovich with two and Emma Miller with one. Papin, Major and Alayna McCario also had one block apiece in the loss.
Vandalia and Staunton
The loss to the Rockets came on the heels of a 25-16, 25-16 win against Vandalia.
Kaci Papin had a big game as she led the team in service points (nine), kills (seven) and blocks (three). Jordan Jacobs and Reagan DeVaisher led the team in assists with 13 and 11 respectively, with Haley Major (six), Layne Rupert (four), Reagan DeVaisher (three), Jacobs (two) and Alayna McCario (two) contributing kills.
The match-up with Staunton would be close, but too many service errors (12) would doom the Toppers, who fell 25-16, 23-25, 25-17.
“We played aggressively at the net putting down kills and adjusted defensively to slow down Staunton’s attack. Unfortunately, we just made too many mistakes,” Zimmerman said.
Kaci Papin put down 15 kills in the attack, with Layne Rupert and Haley Major contributing eight and five respectively. Reagan DeVaisher and Jordan Jacobs combined for 30 assists as the two seniors handled setting duties.
Defensively, Ally Devore led the team with nine digs, followed by Haley Major with seven and Reagan DeVaisher with six. The trio also had the top point totals in the serving game, with Major putting up eight points, Devore six and DeVaisher two.
The loss of the seven seniors will be a big one for the Toppers to overcome as Haley Major, Ally Devore, Reagan DeVaisher, Jordan Jacobs, Kylee Pastrovich, Emma Miller and Olivia Hefley have played a significant role in the recent success. Fortunately, the underclassmen have games like the ones against Staunton, Vandalia and Rochester to help them improve their skills and learn for next season.
April 14 at Staunton
Hillsboro 16 25 17
Staunton 25 23 25
Service Points: Haley Major 8, Ally Devore 6, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Jordan Jacobs 1, Alayna McCario 1, Abbi Schrieber 1, Sophia Blankenship 1. Aces: Haley Major 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 15, Layne Rupert 8, Haley Major 5, Alayna McCario 2, Reagan DeVaisher 2. Assists: Reagan DeVaisher 16, Jordan Jacobs 14. Digs: Ally Devore 9, Haley Major 7, Reagan DeVaisher 6, Layne Rupert 4, Alayna McCario 2, Kaci Papin 1, Emma Miller 1, Abbi Schrieber 1.
April 15 at Vandalia
Hillsboro 25 25
Vandalia 16 16
Service Points: Kaci Papin 9, Ally Devore 7, Layne Rupert 5, Jordan Jacobs 5, Haley Major 2. Aces: Kaci Papin 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 7, Haley Major 6, Layne Rupert 4, Reagan DeVaisher 3, Jordan Jacobs 2, Alayna McCario 2. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 13, Reagan DeVaisher 11, Ally Devore 1. Digs: Layne Rupert 10, Ally Devore 8, Haley Major 4, Jordan Jacobs 3, Kaci Papin 3, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Kylee Pastrovich 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 3, Haley Major 2.
April 17 at Hillsboro
Rochester 25 25
Hillsboro 12 13
Service Points: Jordan Jacobs 5, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Kaci Papin 1. Aces: Jordan Jacobs 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 7, Layne Rupert 3, Alayna McCario 2, Reagan DeVaisher 1. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 8, Reagan DeVaisher 3, Haley Major 1. Digs: Ally Devore 6, Kaci Papin 4, Reagan DeVaisher 3, Haley Major 3, Layne Rupert 2, Jordan Jacobs 2, Kylee Pastrovich 2, Emma Miller 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 1, Alayna McCario 1, Haley Major 1.
Record: Hillsboro (8-7); Rochester (15-0).