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Mooseheart Plays 'Best Volleyball of Season' in 26-24, 25-19 Defeat to Westminster Christian

By DARRYL MELLEMA, Associate Editor, Moose Magazine
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Mooseheart sophomore Jasmine Martinez passes the ball during the Ramblers match with Westminster Christian. Mooseheart lost the match 26-24, 25-19.

Mooseheart sophomore Madison Hart reaches to record one of her team's 22 digs in its 26-24, 25-19 defeat to Westminster Christian. Ramblers libero Rocio Sanchez watches the play.

Mooseheart senior Erin Stryker rises to deliver a hit in the second game of the Ramblers defeat by Westminster Christian. Stryker had 12 digs, 1 ace and 2 kills in the match.

MOOSEHEART, IL, Sept. 18 - If you're looking for an indicator to the kind of effort Mooseheart's volleyball team put in on Tuesday night, look no further than the Ramblers' 22 digs. Certainly the hosts got onto the floor to work hard in their match against Westminster Christian.

That effort didn't net a victory - Westminster Christian won 26-24, 25-19. But things like effort and execution are important as a young Mooseheart team (0-8) works toward the midpoint of its schedule.

"That was probably the best volleyball I've seen them play all season," Mooseheart coach Kristin Shuman said. "We had a tournament on Saturday and we kind of played around with the rotation. I think we finally found the one that works the best with the players that we have this year."

The Ramblers scored the first 4 points in the opening game and were ahead 17-7 before Westminster Christian's rally took hold. The Warriors tied the game at 20-20 and there were further ties at 21-12 and 23-23 before the visitors claimed the victory.

"They really fought for every ball all the way to the end," Shuman said. "And even after that, they didn't get discouraged."

The second game was more one-sided. Westminster Christian raced to a 10-2 lead and never trailed, although Mooseheart ralled to 22-18 at one point. One of the keys to the Warriors' eventual victory was getting their own hitting component working smoothly.

"Defense is tough," Shuman said. "When you come across big hitters, the ball comes at you so fast and you sometimes get stuck in a spot. But it proves by the amount of digs that we had as a team that we're getting underneath the ball and passing it up. It shows that they're moving."

Among the young Ramblers who excelled was freshman Abi Alade, who had 4 kills and 2 blocks.

"She is coming up huge," Shuman said. "She's a freshman. So getting her into this aggressive mentality has been one of our goals. But over the weekend, it was like a light bulb went 'click.' She's at the net. She's aggressive and she's hitting the ball whenever possible."

Senior Erin Stryker led the Ramblers with 12 digs, 1 ace and 2 kills.

With Mooseheart's season near its midpoint, Shuman assessed her team's play so far.

"We've had our ups and we've had our downs, but I'm pleased," Shuman said. "Today was definitely an 'up' and we hope to keep growing with it and to get to where we're having more ups than downs."

In schedule changes, Mooseheart's early-season match with Somonauk has been rescheduled for Sept. 24 and is now the team's homecoming match. The Friday match at Paw Paw has been moved to later in the season and the Ramblers will be able to participate in the campus bonfire, a homecoming tradition at Mooseheart.



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