Volleyball match against Ridgway ends with 25-23 score, in favor of Kane

Photo by Larry Smith — Hannah Buhl sets the ball to Sarri Swanson on Tuesday night in a match against Ridgway. The Lady Wolves won the match in three straight sets.
Larry Smith
Staff Writer

It was a battle of two powerhouse District 9 volleyball teams on Tuesday night in the Wolves Den as the 3-1 Lady Wolves hosted the 5-0 Lady Elkers. The match lived up to its billing and when the dust settled Kane walked away with a win in three straight sets (25-18,25-20,25-23) to improve to 4-1 in the early season. All four of Kane's wins have come in three straight sets.
“Sitting at 4-1, it's a great start," said Kane head coach Judy Kessler. "Anytime you can string four, five or six wins together at the beginning of a season that's a great start."
The Lady Elkers came to town undefeated with some very impressive wins on their resume. Kessler knew they would be a challenge. The Lady Wolves fell behind several times but kept fighting.
"A team like Ridgway that's solid, strong and well coached when you get down five points you don't always have an opportunity to come back," stated Kessler. "My kids mentally never took themselves out of the game. That says a lot for their mental strength today."
The Lady Wolves turned in another strong serving performance, missing on only five serves in the three sets. Hannah Buhl was 21 of 23 serving. Lexi Woods was a perfect 12 of 12, Kalen Johnson 9-9, Audri Marconi 12 of 13 and Moira Stanisch 8 of 9.
Buhl turned ion 29 assists along with 5 aces to lead the offense. She is averaging just under 30 assists per match.
Ella Marconi had 11 big kills for the Lady Wolves. Audri Marconi ended with 6, Sarri Swanson 4 and Kalen Johnson and Sierra Hillman had 3 kills apiece. Swanson and Hillman each turned in saves that kept the Wolves Den rocking.
"Those were two great saves by Sarri and Sierra," said Kessler. "They are non stop, go go go and we push that concept. Don't let a ball die, go get it."
Coach Kessler praised the play of the entire team following the game. Sierra and Sarri are the same," continued Kessler.
"Their bodies don't tell where the ball is going to go. The defense and blockers struggle with where are they even going. We have some blockers with great reaches. Ella, Audri, Sarri, and Sierra all have great reaches at the top of the net."
The Lady Elkers took an early lead in the first set with aces turned in by Alyssa Kasmierski and Lacie Cherry. Kills by Erica Delullo and Claire Kemick kept the Lady Wolves trailing by 4. Ridgway's lead increased to 15-10 before Audri Marconi and Buhl took over. With Hannah serving and Audri knocking down a couple kills the Lady Wolves took the lead 16-15 and cruised to a 25-18 first set win.
The Lady Wolves pulled away for a 25-20 win. Hillman and Swanson blocked a kill attempt and A. Marconi handled the serving to end the set.
The third set was highlighted by strong play from both teams. Buhl's serving led the Wolves and kills from Audri and Ella Marconi was matched by kills from Kasmierski and Casey Woodford. A big save by Hillman sparked the Lady Wolves. An ace by A. Marconi ended the game at 25-23 in favor of Kane.
"My kids did an excellent job adapting what our game plan was," said Kessler, "That's what you have to do and they did it as a team. They tried to exploit our weaknesses which tonight was not covering up the tips. So we took that away from them and made some defensive adjustments and that changed their game plan. These kids just responded to what we needed them to do tonight."
The Lady Wolves now 4-1 travel to the Paper City on Thursday to face the Lady Rams. "We have to practice hard tomorrow and be ready for anything Burg throws at us," said Kessler.
Ridgway won the JV contest in two straight sets.

The full article can be found in the printed publication or E-Edition of the Kane Republican, Sept. 19, 2018.