The St. Marys Roughriders volleyball team finished second at their namesake invitational while earning their first two victories of the season before falling to Pandora-Gilboa 25-19, 22-25 and 25-23 in the championship match on Saturday.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Riders head coach Monica VanderHorst said. “In the first set we got off to a slow start, but we played them tough. In the second set we played with enthusiasm and when you have the serve-receive at 90 percent that’s pretty effective.”
Erika Angstmann led St. Marys with 36 kills on the day. Reagan Aller had 32 kills in the three matches. Ally Angstmann had 33 digs on the day, Natalie Kuenning had 83 combined assists and Mallory Kill added three service aces.
“Pandora did a good job of slowing the game down at the net and they have a heck of a hitter in Megan Maag,” VanderHorst said.
The Rockets got off to a quick start with a 12-5 beginning. After a Rider timeout, St. Marys started to play with the Rockets. The Rockets emerged with a 25-19 first-set win, but St. Marys carried some momentu into the second set.
The Riders came alive in that second set, managing to stay ahead throughout the set. At the beginning the Riders got a 4-3 lead before the Rockets answered with two serves from Vivian Nofzinger for a 6-4 lead. St. Marys answered themselves with three service points from Reagan Aller.
With Pandora leading 16-15 the Riders called timeout and immediately regained the serve. The Riders went on a 4-1 run. The Rockets answered with a three point run to tie the score at 20-all. The Riders called their second timeout and concluded the set by getting three service points from Ally Angstmann and got a kill from Erika Angstmann to win the set 25-22.
In the third set neither team wanted to give an inch. The scoring went back and forth until the Riders got a 14-13 lead. That is when St. Marys got a pair of serves from Ally Angstmann, but Pandora came back to tie the score at 18-all.
With the score tied at 18 Serena Maag served three straight points to cause VanderHorst to call her second timeout. Following the timeout, the Riders came back to close the score to 24-23, but after a Rocket timeout, they got a side out to win the match 25-23.
“Ally Angstmann had 16 digs,” VanderHorst said. “Erika Angstmann and Reagan Aller had 15 kills each and those are our two main girls. Natalie Kuenning did a great job getting the ball to our hitters and our off hand hitters Courtney (Voisard) and Leeann (Bertke) did a great job when we needed a kill, but we were that short at 25-23. I’m proud of the girls efforts but we can get better.”
The Riders had a rather easy contest in their first match of the Invitational when they battled Spencerville as they won 25-12 and 25-12.
“This was our first victory of the season and it feels good to finally get a win,” VanderHorst said. “These girls deserve to win because they put so much time and effort through the summer. These girls want to win but it is a matter of doing everything together.
“Reagan Aller had a great game at the net with nine kills along with Erika Angstmann,” VanderHorst said. “Natalie Kuenning did a great job of getting the ball to our hitters and we had 95 percent serve-receive.”
The Riders jumped out to a 7-3 lead and after a Spencerville timeout, Rachel Meier served five straight points and the Riders were never slowed down in a 25-12 victory. In the second set the Riders got out to a 5-2 lead with four serves from Aller and again won 25-12.
The second match of the day against the Old Fort Stockaders was similar to the match against Spencerville. St. Marys started the match against Old Fort with the first nine service points coming from Natalie Kuenning.
After an exchange of points, Mallory Kill added two service points and kept the momentum the rest of the set for a 25-12 victory. In the second set the score was tied at 5-all when Meier served a pair of points and after an exchange of points, Ally Angstmann served eight straight points and the Riders held on for the 25-16 victory.
“When we have a serve-receive percentage of 92 percent. That can be nothing but positive for the team,” VanderHorst said. “Aller had 14 kills and Erika Angstmann had 12 kills and Ally Angstman had 12 digs and Natalie getting her 27 assists. It shows everybody is doing what they have to to make the team successful and when you serve for an average of 95 percent you are going to win.”
The Riders (2-6) entertain New Bremen on Tuesday.