High School Sports

Who won the battle between the BND’s top-ranked volleyball squads?

Edwardsville junior comes up big in volleyball win over Althoff

Edwardsville junior Rachel Pranger had 10 kills and two blocks Tuesday in the Tigers' 25-18, 25-12 girls volleyball win over Althoff. Pranger, a junior who has Division I recruiting interest in both volleyball and basketball, had five kills in eac
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Edwardsville junior Rachel Pranger had 10 kills and two blocks Tuesday in the Tigers' 25-18, 25-12 girls volleyball win over Althoff. Pranger, a junior who has Division I recruiting interest in both volleyball and basketball, had five kills in eac

A battle between the area’s two top-ranked teams Tuesday wound up being not much of a battle at all.

Edwardsville, the top-ranked team in the BND Large-School volleyball rankings, easily handled BND Small-School No. 1 Althoff 25-18, 25-12 as Tigers’ junior Rachel Pranger led the way with 10 kills and two blocks.

Key performers

Along with the big night from Pranger, Edwardsville (12-3) also got four kills, three blocks and six digs from Kate Martin, 16 assists from setter Rachel Verdun and 14 digs from Megan Woll. The dominance at the net, effective serving and overall balance was too much for Althoff (8-5).

“I was pleased with the girls, they were very consistent all night,” Edwardsville coach Jami Parker said. “Not a lot of unforced errors on our side, they played really clean from start to finish. Serve-receive gave Rachel (Verdun) a lot of options and she ran an absolutely beautiful offense tonight.

“She had lot of options and she ran them well — and the hitters were hitting clean tonight.”

I was pleased with the girls, they were very consistent all night. Not a lot of unforced errors on our side, they played really clean from start to finish. Serve-receive gave Rachel (Verdun) a lot of options and she ran an absolutely beautiful offense tonight.

Edwardsville coach Jami Parker

Pranger, a junior who has Division I recruiting interest in both volleyball and basketball, had five kills in each set. She credited Verdun for any success she enjoyed against the Crusaders.

“Rachel really connects with all of our hitters great,” Pranger said of Verdun. “It really helps the team when our setters and hitters connect well. It’s just our chemistry as a team. We work really well together and that helps us out.”

Key sequence

Althoff held a 13-12 lead in the first set when Nicki Meyer led a six-point service run that put the Tigers in control. The Tigers had another six-point run with Megan Woll serving that helped put things out of reach.

“We weren’t ready to compete tonight and that’s disappointing to me,” said Althoff coach Sara Dietrich, whose team had won four of its previous five games. “They’re an amazing program. They’re ranked first for a reason, but I was just hoping we would come out and compete and give them a game. That wasn’t a game.”

Emily Myatt, Addie Burris and Katie Wemhoener had three kills each for Althoff, which aided Edwardsville’s attack by making several unforced errors.

Dietrich pointed to her team’s inability to deal with Edwardsville’s serving as a big reason things got out of hand, especially in the second set.

“Their serving really put us out of system,” Dietrich said. “When you don’t have a serve-receive you don’t have an offense and then we had a pass, our offense was hitting out of bounds.”

They’re an amazing program. They’re ranked first for a reason, but I was just hoping we would come out and compete and give them a game. That wasn’t a game.

Althoff coach Sara Dietrich

Edwardsville cruised in the second set, opening up an 8-1 lead with Verdun serving. Shelby Say’s serving was also deadly as she mixed four aces in during a 10-point service run.

“They have tough serving and good passing,” Dietrich said. “They’re a great program.”

Parker had so many positives it may have been tough to single out one aspect of her team’s night, but she found one.

“I think I was most happy with the blocking,” Parker said. “We had some really good touches and that was some of the best blocking we’ve had here for a while. I like where we are right now. The girls keep progressing with every week, with every match; they’re doing a great job.

“We’re just going to continue to work here. We keep cleaning up the little details here and try to make ourselves stronger with every match. Hopefully we keep doing that.”

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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