The Highland High School volleyball team spiked all five opponents in straight sets to repeat as champions of its own Highland Bulldog Invitational, held Friday and Saturday in the Highland Middle School gym.
Highland has reeled off eight wins in a row to hike its near-flawless record to an eye-popping 24-1.
First on Friday, Highland shot down the Alton Redbirds 25-16, 25-9 before beating up on the Vandalia Vandals 25-10 and 25-7.
Then on Saturday, the Bulldogs had no trouble with an 8 a.m. start time after mauling the Carbondale Terriers 25-14, 25-12. Next, Highland went on to pounce on the Breese Central Courgars 25-19, 25-19. Finally, Highland blasted the East St. Louis Flyerettes 25-13, 25-14.
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“It was a great weekend,” Beyer said. “Recently, we have been winning but we have been kind of playing flat and not as aggressive as I would like them to. But this was a super weekend. They played fast and played so well all five games. We were well balanced, we’re reading each other better and reacting to the ball much better. I think we only missed three or four serves all weekend and that is great.”
Highland seniors Alex LaPorta, a middle hitter, and Madison Wellen, an outside hitter, were both named to the Highland Bulldog Invitational All-Tournament Team.
LaPorta made her third consecutive all-tournament team after helping the Bulldogs win their third straight tourney this season — which also includes Carbondale and Granite City.
LaPorta amassed a tournament-high 45 kills to go along with 29 digs, eight blocks, 22 service points and three aces.
In addition to leading the team in kills (181) and total blocks (50), LaPorta is also tied for second in aces (34) and is third in digs (189).
Wellen also had a very impressive tournament, logging a team-best 42 digs to go along with 21 kills, 38 service point and 10 aces. Wellen ranks first on the team in digs (210) and service points (160), while she also is tied for second in aces (34) and fourth in kills (107).
In addition for the season, senior outside hitter Sarah Beth Wiegman leads the team with 46 aces. She also ranks second in kills (119) and digs (204).
Reaching a milestone
An added bonus was that coach Beyer realized a milestone with her 200th career win leading the program.
“That is kinda neat and I kinda like that. (Athletic trainer) Erin (Hoepfner) told the girls and they all congratulated me. But it’s not about me, it’s about the girls and the program,” Beyer said while being overcome by emotion. “I have been really lucky for 10 years I have been here. When I think back about all of it, I think about all of the ups and downs but it’s really about the girls. I love all the girls that have come through the program and that’s the part of 200 you remember the most.”
HHS sweeps East St. Louis
LaPorta led the way with 11 kills and also chipped in seven digs.
Also logging key stats for the Bulldogs were senior setter Megan Frey with 13 assists, 10 service points, three aces, three digs and one kill; sophomore middle hitter Claire Diercks with five kills; Wellen with seven digs, three kills, six service points and one ace; Wiegman with eight digs, three kills and two service points; senior setter Sarah Frank with nine assists, four service points and two aces; freshman libero Emmy Nyquist with nine digs; senior middle hitter Hayley Taylor with two kills; and senior right-side hitter Amanda Korsmeyer with one kill.
HHS sweeps Breese Central
LaPorta and Diercks showed the way with seven kills apiece. LaPorta also topped the match with eight service points and had seven digs.
Also compiling numbers for Highland were: Wiegman with six kills, nine digs and two service points; Wellen with 13 digs, four kills, one kill, one block and four service points; Frey with 13 assists, six service points, one ace and one dig; Frank with eight assists, two digs, three service points and one ace; Korsmeyer with four kills and two digs; Taylor with two kills; Taylor with two kills, four digs, one block and one assist; Nyquist with six digs, one kill and two service points; and Diercks with two digs.
HHS sweeps Carbondale
LaPorta launched a team tournament-high 12 kills, while Wellen, Wiegman and Diercks all sent down four kills apiece.
Wiegman also served up a match-best 12 service points and three aces to go with seven digs, while Wellen also chipped in eight service points, 10 digs and two aces.
In addition, LaPorta, Wellen, Wiegman and Diercks each had one block. LaPorta also added four digs.
Also contributing stats for HHS were: Frey with 10 assists, three digs, seven service points and two aces; Frank with nine assists and one dig; Taylor with three kills and one block; Korsmeyer with two kills; and Nyquist with eight digs, four service points and one ace.
HHS sweeps Vandalia
Wellen and LaPorta shared top honors in kills with seven apiece. Wellen also logged four digs, seven service points, two aces and one block while LaPorta also added eight digs four service points, two aces and one block.
Also producing numbers for the Bulldogs were: Wiegman with four kills, 10 digs eight service points and two aces; Frey with seven assists, 11 service points, two aces and one dig; Frank with six assists and two digs; Nyquist with four digs, six service points and three aces; Taylor with one kill, one block and two assists; Diercks with one kill and one block; and Korsmeyer with one kill.
HHS sweeps Alton
LaPorta and Diercks matched one another with eight kills apiece to lead the match. LaPorta also logged four blocks, three digs and four service points. Diecks also had one block.
Wellen notched a match- topping 13 service points and four aces to go with three kills and eight digs.
Also supplying stats for Highland were: Frey with eight assists and six digs, three aces and four service points; Frank with five assists, three digs and six service points; Wiegman with two kills, one block, one dig and one service point; Nyquist with nine digs, two kills and three service points; Korsmeyer with three blocks and one dig; and Taylor with one kill and one block.
HHS edges Triad
In a match that lasted longer than it should have, LaPorta hammered down a match-best 10 kills while Wellen amassed nine kills, Diercks added seven kills and Wiegman had six kills.
Wiegman also produced match highs with 10 service points and four aces to go with 11 digs and two assists. Wellen also added 12 digs, six service points and one ace while LaPorta and Diercks each had two blocks and LaPorta had five digs.
Also putting in numbers for the Bulldogs were: Nyquist with a match-best 13 digs; Frank with 10 assists, four service points and one ace; Frey with nine assists, four service points and two aces; Korsmeyer with four kills and one block; junior Addison Rinderer with four service points, one ace and one assistl and Taylor with one block and one dig.