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Mooseheart's Shannon Johnson passes the ball in the Ramblers three-game loss to Kirkland Hiawatha.
Mooseheart's Jasmine Martinez prepares to deliver a serve in the Ramblers Northeastern Athletic Conference loss to Kirkland Hiawatha. The match was Mooseheart's Homecoming match.
Mooseheart's Abi Alade sends the ball over the net in the Ramblers Northeastern Athletic Conference defeat by Kirkland Hiawatha on Monday.
MOOSEHEART, IL, Sept. 30 – If there's one of the three games that Mooseheart's volleyball players will want to remember from Monday's Northeastern Athletic Conference defeat to Kirkland Hiawatha – it's the second one.
That's not just because the Ramblers won 25-22 and brought about a decisive third game, it's because of the way the Ramblers played offensive as well as defensive volleyball in that middle portion of what ended as a 25-16, 22-25, 25-14 Hawks victory in this year's Homecoming match for Mooseheart's squad.
"They're starting to put it together," Mooseheart coach Kristin Shuman said. "Even in the third game, we had consistent three hits – pass, set hit; pass, set hit – they were doing that very consistently. It was just that we couldn’t finish the play."
In that second game, the Ramblers raced to a 10-1 lead, though Kirkland Hiawatha rallied and eventually forged a 15-15 tie. The teams played on level terms from that point until back-to-back scoring hits by Madison Hart took Mooseheart to 24-20. A Hawks' service error gave the hosts the victory.
Mooseheart's kill numbers for the match were boosted in that second game. For the match, Jade Sanni had 4 kills, Abi Alade and Mamie Barley had 3 kills apiece and Hart added 2 kills.
"We started to move into our offense finally instead of being just a defensive team," Shuman said. "Hopefully we can continue to build on that."
Kirkland Hiawatha kept a stubborn distance between itself and Mooseheart in the deciding game. From a 10-8 lead, the Hawks surged to a 16-9 edge and were never seriously troubled again.
"Starting in a hole is always difficult to get out of," Shuman said. "As much as it was maybe only a two- or three-point hole to get out of, for a while in the beginning of the game, we just couldn't get out of that groove. They had one rotation that we got stuck in when Lexie Leffelman got serving and we just could not shake that rotation."
The Ramblers are swiftly approaching the end of their regular season. With only six regular season matches remaining, the team's Senior Night is Oct. 8, the Northeastern Athletic Conference Tournament is Oct. 26 and the IHSA tournament begins Oct. 28 when the Ramblers head to the Hinckley-Big Rock Regional.
"This season is going incredibly fast," Shuman said. "I was totaling their stats for halfway through the season and I couldn't believe we were so far into the season. They've stated to put a lot of good things together. We get stuck going against Keith (Country Day) who is the defending state champion and Harvest (Christian) who took them all the way in the finals."
Mooseheart's next match is a 6 p.m. Thursday contest at Harvest Christian.
Kirkland Hiawatha 25 22 25
Mooseheart 16 25 14
Alade 3 kills
Sanni 4 kills
Tucker 12 digs, 3 kills
Hart 8 digs, 2 kills
Martinez 11 assists