COAL CITY – Ever since the first day of practice, when the Morris girls varsity volleyball team began practice with six players, the club has been a work in progress. On Thursday, the Redskins got to see just how much the work has progressed when they opened the season on the road against Coal City.
Since the day’s opening practice, sophomores Jenelle Brehm and Destiny Cano were added to the roster permanently, joining seniors Taya Torkelson, Emma Thomas and Amber Misek and juniors Kaylin Korte, Addison Polite and Maren Bashor. Three other sophomores also donned varsity jerseys after the Morris sophomores lost the opening match in three games, but did not see action.
As she figures to be most of the season, the 6-foot Korte, an outside hitter who has already committed to play in college for University of Illinois, was the focal point for the Redskins.
But, even though Korte was set often, the Redskins are determined to let teams know they are more than a one-woman show. In fact, out of Morris; first six kills of the match, Korte had only one. Brehm opened strong, recording a kll and a block kill, then Emma Thomas got a kill to pue Morris ahead, 4-1.
“We have to spread it around,” Morris coach Jackie Litwiller said. “We do have a good offense, and everyone played well tonight. I thought Jenelle Brehm and Destiny Cano did a good job in their first varsity matches.”
The Redskins builit a 9-4 lead before Coal City called a timeout, and Korte took over. She pounded down two straight kills to start a four-point run that also included an ace by Taya Torkelson and a kill by Cano. Korte finished with five kills in the first game, which Morris won, 25-17.
Korte added five more kills in the second game to finish the match with 10, but the second game was much more interesting.
Two kills by Korte gave Morris a 21-14 lead and it looked like it would end much like the first.
Coal City refused to back down, and behind some strong serving from Taylor Rice and Rebecca Cash, stormed back to take a 24-23 lead. Unfortunately for the Coalers (1-1), the comeback stopped there, as Brehm recorded a pair of kills and Coal City committed a four-hit error to end the game and match.
“Our kids are athletic, and they are competitors,” Coal City coach Mike Lanoue said. “You can’t coach either of those things, but if you have them, you are in every match. It would have been easy for our girls to give up late in the second game, but we didn’t.
“I thought Rebecca Cash played well for us all night, and so did Ryanne Ehrman. There’s no quit in these kids, and we are going to a tournament in Willowbrook this weekend where we will see teams with similar height to Morris. Hopefully some of the adjustments we made tonight will help us.”
Morris’ two-setter system worked to near perfection, as the assists were split 13 for Taya Torkelson and nine for Addison Polite. Brehm finished with four kills, while Cano had three.
“I was glad the girls were able to regroup at the end of the second game and get it done in two,” Litwiller said. “Emotions were high and we were a little nervous, which I think led to a few of our serving errors early. We also had seven blocking errors, which will get cleaned up the more the girls play together.
“All in all, it was a good first match.”