Highland has been unable to knock Mascoutah off the top rung of the volleyball ladder the last three years as the Indians lost only one conference match en route to three-peating as champions.
But the Lady Bulldogs find themselves on the top perch looking down on Mascoutah and the rest of the Mississippi Valley Conference after toppling the host Indians, 25-19, 25-23, Tuesday.
Highland followed that up two nights later with a much easier 25-13, 25-12 victory over visiting Civic Memorial which gave the Lady Bulldogs the sweep of the Eagles in conference play. In fact, Highland has beaten CM all three times this season.
The Lady Bulldogs, who ran their unbeaten streak to 9-0-1 to hike their overall record to 15-3-1, remained unbeaten in the MVC at 6-0 and control their own destiny in the chase for the conference championship. The last time Highland captured the MVC crown was six years ago.
“We’ve gone through everyone now and I feel like we’re getting more confident on the court together so that’s good,”said Highland junior libero Emmy Nyquist, who logged a match-high 18 digs against Mascoutah and a match-best 13 digs against Civic Memorial to go with three total service aces in the two matches. “Mascoutah has been the conference champ the last three years so it fees good to finally beat them.
“I feel like we just keep improving and that’s really good. We have been working on getting our passes up and I think we have been doing that very well.”
Junior middle hitter Claire Diercks is the Lady Bulldogs’ top attacker and she slammed down eight kills against the Indians and pounded out seven more versus the Eagles. She also swatted two aces in each match.
“Mascoutah was a hard game but we just came out ready to play and got them,” Diercks said. “It was a good conference win and it’s great to know that we have control of the conference right now, but we have to stay ready because you never know with the second time around because they could know our tendencies and where we are going with the ball.
“We’re really doing good right now, we’re really connecting and gelling really well.”
Against Mascoutah, Highland sophomore setter Megan Vidmar handed out 25 assists to go with six digs and one ace; junior outside hitter Jennessa Kimmle supplied seven kills and 10 digs; junior outside hitter Megan Ramsey provided six kills, 13 digs and two aces; and senior right-side hitter Megan Sands added two kills and nine digs.
In the lopsided win over CM, Highland also received seven kills, eight digs, two aces, one solo block and one block assist from Ramsey; 11 digs, two kills and one ace from Kimmle; 22 assists, four digs and one kill from Vidmar; four aces from junior right-side hitter Abby Beyer; three kills, one solo block and one block assist from sophomore middle hitter Sydney Coker; and two kills and three digs from Sands.