Despite having three losses in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Eastern Conference, the Morris volleyball team is feeling like it is holding its own. Not only that, but the Redskins are feeling that, with a good week, they can be the team that ends at the top of the league standings.
"The way the conference is looking right now, everyone is all over the place," Morris coach Jackie Litwiller said after her team's 25-18, 25-14 win over Rochelle on Tuesday. "We split with Kaneland but we haven't seen the other three (Yorkville, Sycamore and DeKalb) yet. At this point, every match is important because of that. Our next three matches are going to be huge for us."
Morris had a relatively easy time with Rochelle in Tuesday's home match. The Redskins limited unforced errors, had a solid serve receive and seven different players had at least one kill at the net.
"I feel like we still have room for improvement, but when we play at the top of our game we are going to dominate," Morris senior Marcella Toups said. "But anything can happen in volleyball. If a team is on, they are on and the same thing if they are off."
Morris broke free from an early 8-7 lead by extending it to three. That's where it sat (12-9, 15-12, 16-13) late into the game before the Redskins pulled away on a pair of aces by Laney Torkelson and an out-of-bounds hit by Rochelle. Rochelle broke the serve with the score at 19-15 but it would prove too little, too late for the Lady Hubs.
In the first game, Morris had six different players with kills. One more (Austin Thompson) was added to the fray in the second game to complete the overall scoring attack.
"(Versatility) is a very key element to playing this sport," Toups said. "If you can't get good passing, you can't get kills or points."
For the two games, Kendall Korte ended with eight kills and added 18 digs, Toups had seven kills, Torkelson five kills and three aces, JoAnna Nowicki four kills, Thompson three kills, Taylor Vandenberg one kill and Katie Chatten one kill. Chatten had 28 assists and Morgan Hussey 15 digs.
"We played our game tonight. We didn't make a lot of errors and we also were able to get some people in tonight at different spots," Litwiller said. "Katie did a nice job of spreading the ball around tonight. That allows us to do what we do best and gives us a lot of options."
Morris (20-10, 3-3) actually fell behind 3-0 in the second game but then claimed 25 of the next 36 points.
The Redskins won the sophomore match 25-23, 25-8.
The locals will now play again on Thursday at Yorkville before playing at home against Sycamore and DeKalb the following Tuesday and Thursday.
"We need to go out and win on Thursday," Toups said. "We need to keep the excitement up. If was can also keep improving as a team, I still think we can go far."