The goals are pretty simple for the Morris Redskins volleyball squad: Improve throughout the season, go undefeated at home and win a regional.
One of those goals got off to a good start Thursday night, as the Redskins defeated the Ottawa Pirates 25-13, 25-15 to win their home opener in convincing fashion.
After getting valuable experience as a freshman in 2012, sophomore outside hitter Kaylin Korte had a huge game on the night with nine kills and nine digs.
Filling in for her sister Kendall, who graduated last year, Korte gave the Redskins the offensive spark they needed on the night.
“Playing as a freshman last year definitely helped me, especially with my sister,” Korte said.
“She would put me in a spot and she helped me out a lot, but this year, all these girls are like my big sisters and they help me out a lot, too.”
The production is certainly comes as a positive to Morris coach Jackie Litwiller.
“We’ve been telling her this whole time – she’s been playing some middle backer – we need her on the outside. I need your defense and I need your hitting out there,” Litwiller said.
Morris got off to a quick start when a huge Korte kill made it 4-1. A few plays later, a Cara Cummings ace made it 7-2 Morris, before another Korte kill two plays later would extend the lead to 9-2, and force an Ottawa timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Morris would rattle off three more points before an Ottawa touch set would finally stop the run with Morris leading 12-3.
However, with the help of senior outside hitter and setter Austin Thompson, who gave Morris a big block to make it 15-6, closed the game out with a kill.
Thompson and Cummings are splitting duties at setter, and the arrangement gives the Redskins offense quite a bit of versatility.
“I loved having Katie [Chatten, recent graduate and three-year starter at setter], she worked her butt off, but these two seniors have stepped up and come into their own,” Litwiller said. “They’re enjoying it, they’re working together and they’ve been able to really spread the ball around.
“It’s just nice to have that variety because sometimes you can get stuck in a one-setter offense.”
In Game 2, Morris got off to another quick start and took a 4-0 lead. This time, however, Ottawa rallied back and tie the game at four. Ottawa would go on to take a 5-4 lead that forced a Morris timeout.
It’d be the final lead of the game for the Pirates.
Morris would rattle off four quick points to take the lead back, and while Ottawa would tie the game at nine, Morris would ultimately go on to win the game 25-15.
The win improved the Redskins to 2-0 on the season.