Paige Hyer fires an attack at the Brookwood offense in last week’s match. The Panthers edged the Falcons 3–2. (Nate Beier photo | gx3media.smugmug.com)

By NATE BEIER | For the County Line

The momentum was on Brookwood’s side as the team moved ahead of Royall to capture the opening set of last week’s volleyball match. The Falcons held off the Panthers 26-24 and were looking to upset the undefeated Panthers, but the visiting team outlasted its host for a 3-2 win.

“We had an off night passing. Our serve receive broke down,” said Royall head coach Craig Baeseman.

Royall answered the first set loss with a big 25-13 win and followed that with a narrow 25-21 loss. However, the Panthers put it together in the fourth set for another 25-13 win and coupled it with a 15-9 finale to finish the season sweep of the Falcons.

“The match changed when we started double blocking the middle,” Baeseman said. “We played the last two sets with confidence and were able to pull it out.”

Brookwood head coach Jeanine Brieske said, “Royall has a very solid team, and we were hot and cold all night. We played well together in the first and third sets but couldn’t pull out the win for the other three.”

Brieske pointed out that her team was running a different offense due to the absence of Cecilia Mendoza, who was out due to injury. But the Falcons still found a way to be competitive. As a team, they served 94 percent with seven aces. Bridget Cleven led the team with 30 assists in the loss and helped mix up the offensive strikes for Brookwood. Zoey Rynes led the team with eight kills, and Alex Decker, Amber Brueggen and Haley Hall each added seven.

Royall’s offense was not as well balanced, as Paige Hyer and McKenzie Baeseman led the team in kills. Hyer’s 31 led all hitters, and Baeseman’s 18 was second best. Emma Herek added one kill in the win.

Panthers still undefeated

The win allows Royall to improve to 9-0 in league play on the year and 16-7 overall. Outside of the team’s usual stat leaders, Coach Craig Baeseman pointed out that a number of other teammates have found a way to contribute to the team’s winning ways.

“McKenzie Skolos has stepped up and done a nice job at right front, and Ally Stanek has played well for us in the back row,” said Baeseman. “If she (Stanek) passes well, we have the girls that can set and put the ball away.”

Stanek was one of three players with 12 digs in the win against Brookwood. Kelsea Storkel, who has been battling a shoulder injury, and Hyer were the others.

Royall will continue its pursuit of a conference title tonight (Thursday), when the Panthers travel to Wonewoc-Center (7-4, 5-4).

Wolves achieve revenge against Falcons

Wonewoc-Center avenged an early-season loss to Brookwood with a 3-0 victory at home Oct. 2.

“We didn’t execute our plays, and the communication, which is key in volleyball, wasn’t there,” Brieske said. “Wonewoc played very well. They had some very good servers that we struggled with at times, and that really broke down our offense.”

The Wolves won by 25-19, 25-12 and 25-14.

Haley Hall recorded two aces and zero serving errors in the loss.

Zoey Rynes and Molly Kotten set up a block against an attack by Royall’s McKenzie Baeseman only to notch a kill from the block in the first set of the match Sept. 30. (Nate Beier photo | gx3media.smugmug.com)

Bridget Cleven races to the far side of the net to make a play on a pass during last week’s match with Royall. (Nate Beier photo | gx3media.smugmug.com)