Karen Kase | The Gazette
GRANGER TWP. — When Highland’s volleyball team needed something big to happen Thursday in a back-and-forth contest with Suburban League foe Cloverleaf, it didn’t need to look any further than Mallory Adams.
The junior middle hitter made an impact right away, contributing to Highland’s first four points. She finished with a game-high 13 kills as the Hornets outlasted the Colts 25-23, 25-21, 25-22.
“I know I have to get a kill, get that first game point,” Adams said. “The back row focuses on getting a first good pass, so I know I have to put it down. My mentality is for that first game point, get it down and build up from there.”
Adams ignited her team with big plays and seemed to stop Cloverleaf’s momentum any time it made a push. The Colts (3-6, 0-4) used precise serving and good placement to stick with the Hornets (4-2, 3-1) and led on multiple occasions in the first two games, but Highland rallied each time.
“Cloverleaf served tough tonight and knew who wasn’t passing well,” Highland coach Jeff McDivitt said. “We will build from this game, especially because of how well they served us. We’ll have to make sure we do better in that area moving forward.
“(Cloverleaf coach) Jim (Vaughn) can coach the game and he knew where to go with the serves. I liked the way our middles played. We rely on them to make big plays. Tori (Maglione) being a senior and Mal, being the athlete that she is, made key points and big plays.”
Highland got key contributions from Maglione (9 kills, 2 blocks), Emmi Esker (10 service points, 3 aces, 2 blocks), Paige Tanzer (19 digs) and Marlee Profitt.
Profitt, a sophomore outside hitter, played an important role off the bench and came up big in Game 3 to help the Hornets extend the lead to seven points, their biggest of the night.
“It’s only her second year (of volleyball),” McDivitt said. “She has unlimited potential. She’s a gamer. The kid has ice in her veins or something. When she is in the game, we don’t have any problems going to her.”
Just as impressive for the Colts was senior libero Jessie Lindemeyer, who recorded 19 digs and kept her team in the game with her energy, hustle and diving efforts to get to the ball.
“She played awesome tonight with 19 digs and she is so good at reading the ball,” Vaughn said. “She has a huge impact on our team. She’s a good leader and was wonderful with our younger kids in the offseason. We work with all our players on leadership, but Jessie fills the role in all the ways she can.”
Lindemeyer added four aces, while Kendall Wilde posted six kills and five aces. Kaylee Gutschow contributed seven kills.
“It was not the outcome we were looking for tonight, but we are trying to get a little more consistent,” Vaughn said. “It really was the first time all season we’ve played three consistent games. We’ve been beating ourselves and giving up some free plays, so we’ve worked on the mental aspect. It’s not the final step, but it was a good step tonight.”
Cloverleaf played without middle hitter Anna Kaczmarek (flu) and outside hitter Paige Barnum, who injured her knee in the season opener and is awaiting MRI results.
Highland won the junior varsity contest 25-8, 25-13.
Contact Karen Kase at firstname.lastname@example.org.