The Highland High School volleyball team matched the best start in program history with a perfect 9-0 record after sweeping visiting Breese Central (25-17, 25-20) last Thursday and visiting Collinsville (25-14, 25-20) on Monday.
The Lady Bulldogs tied the mark of the squad from two years ago. Highland was poised to shatter the record in a home match against Civic Memorial on Tuesday night, which was after the News Leader’s press deadline.
The team members have made it a goal to finish the week 16-0. To do so, Highland would also have to beat Triad on Thursday and go on to repeat as champions of the Granite City Tournament on Saturday.
“Starting the season off so strong gives us a lot of motivation to finish off the week 16-0,” said Highland senior strong-side hitter Madison Wellen, who belted out a match-high six kills in the sweep of Collinsville on Monday. “Our goal is definitely to break the record for the best start in school history and then keep the momentum going to win the Granite City tourney. We’re all playing really well together and with seven seniors on the team, we are very experienced and able to handle anything that comes our way.”
Highland coach Tina Beyer is very happy with the 9-0 start but she is really excited that the girls are playing so well as a team with good chemistry on and off the court.
“They are playing very steady and consistently and have shown a lot of fight,” Beyer said. “They are very balanced with good tempo and have good communication and good movement and I like that. They are such a good team that doesn’t have those highs and lows, they just play the ball. They don’t get rattled and that could go a long way for us this season. We have been talking a lot about what we need to do to help support and encourage one another, and how we need to communicate off the court and on the court.”
HHS sweeps Collinsville 25-14, 25-20
For the second straight match, the only time Highland trailed was 0-1 to open the second set.
The Bulldogs really made short work of Collinsville (2-5-1) in the first game as it was never close. The Kahoks pushed back and stayed within striking range in the second set before Highland closed it out.
Aiding in the Bulldogs’ domination was ringing rung up 26 kills and 11 service aces.
In addition to Wellen’s match-leading six kills, senior middle hitter Alex LaPorta and sophomore middle hitter Claire Diercks matched one another with five kills apiece. LaPorta also added 11 digs while serving up a team-high nine service points and tied senior setter Megan Frey with three aces apiece.
Senior left-side hitter Sarah Beth Wiegman spiked out four kills while she also shared match-best honors in digs with sophomore libero Emmy Nyquist with each recording 12. Wiegman also had five service points and two aces.
In addition to her eight service points and three aces, Frey registered a team-leading 12 setting assists to go with four digs and one kill.
Also producing stats for Highland were: Wellen with 10 digs, four service points, one ace and one block; senior setter Sarah Frank with seven setting assists, three digs, two service points and one ace; senior right-side Amanda Korsmeyer with three kills; senior right-side hitter Hayley Taylor with two kills, one block; and Diercks with three service points, one ace and one dig.
HHS sweeps Breese Central 25-17, 25-20
The Bulldogs never trailed outside of only falling behind 0-1 to open the second game. But the Cougars (4-5) did pull even at 11 all in the first game before Highland slowly pulled away.
The Bulldogs held a precarious 16-15 lead when Deircks put down a kill to get the serve to teammate Wiegman up by two. Wiegman ended up serving three aces to help build the lead to a much more comfortable 22-16 margin.
Although Central only led 1-0, the Cougars did deadlock it twice late in the second set at 18-18 and 19-19.
But the Bulldogs responded with five consecutive points, highlighted by a kill from LaPorta and back-to-back aces from Nyquist to bring Highland to match point.
After a single point from the Cougars, LaPorta ended it with a match-winning kill.
LaPorta hammered down a match-topping seven kills to go along with seven digs, six service points, three aces and one block.
Also contributing to the victory were: Wiegman with four kills, five service points, three aces and two digs; Diercks with three kills, four service points, one ace and one block; Wellen with two kills, 11 digs, four service points and one ace; Korsmeyer with two kills and one dig; Frank with seven setting assists and four service points; Frey with seven setting assists and four digs; and Nyquist with four aces and three digs.