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Hancock takes first at own tournament

By Kristi Fehr

The Hancock Owls played two matches last week and also hosted a six-team tournament on Saturday. The Owls traveled to KMS on Tuesday night coming away with a 3-0 victory by scores of 25-17, 26-24, 25-17. Kendra Schmidgall led the way with 15 kills and Bree Holleman followed with 8. Aria Walstad led the team with 23 assists. The blocking set the pace for the match, with Courtney Greiner having three ace blocks and Lauren Nelson, Aria, Ali Reese, and Bree each contributing one.

On Thursday the Owls played a conference match against CAHN and lost in five games with scores of 21-25, 25-14, 16-25, 25-22, 9-15. They came out extremely flat and could not pull themselves out in all five games. The Owls passed 56 percent for the night, let a lot of balls drop and made a lot of mistakes that they normally do not make. To CAHN's credit, they really blocked the ball well and got the Owls hitters out of rhythm and gave tremendous effort with its digging. It was a tough loss for the girls but hopefully a good learning lesson to look back on later. Kendra led the team with 29 kills followed by Bree with 14 and Lauren with 5. Courtney played a nice game at the net recording 4 ace blocks and 2 kills.

On Saturday, Hancock hosted a six-team tournament and came away with a first place finish. We didn't know what team to expect after a long homecoming week and the outcome of Thursday night's match but they came out against Ashby in the first match and dominated from the start. The Owls won the match 25-15, 25-10. They really moved their feet and improved their passing and effort, which was nice to see. The next pool play match was against CAHN and the Owls won a hard- fought battle 25-11, 23-25, 16-14. They were then matched up against a scrappy CMCS team and won that match 25-16, 22-25, 15-10. This brought the Owls to the championship match, in which they ended up matching up with CAHN again. This was the fifth time these two teams have met this year in regular season and tournaments so they definitely knew what to expect from each other. Both games were close but the Owls were able to come away with a 2-0 win by scores of 25-22, 25-23.

"I was super proud of the heart and effort that I saw from these girls today. We played a lot of games and they played smart ball and kept their composure throughout the whole day," commented Coach Kristi Fehr. Lindsie stepped up her play and really did a nice job getting them into the game with her solid passing and digging. Courtney continues to improve and gain confidence and really shined in the championship match with 4 kills and 2 blocks. Shae Brown also came in during a big momentum change and played solid defense to break CAHN's run. Lauren continues to play consistent and solid at the net and is really working hard. Aria is doing a nice job running the show and the passers made her day a little easier with their good passing so she was able to work the ball to all of our hitters. Ali Reese continues to be one of the Owls most consistent servers and has stepped up her front row play with her blocking and also being consistent in the alternate setting spot. Vanessa Anderson is a great passer and hard worker and is becoming more consistent every match. Kendra is the powerhouse who we look to to spark our offense and she has done that consistently the whole year. Bree is considered the consistent force in the game. The girls look to her to start serving and gain momentum of the game with her consistent serving and strong back row play, and when she gets to the front row she is consistent and extremely smart on where to play the ball and find the defense's holes.

The Owls record now is 15-4-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The team travels for a conference match against Ortonville on Thursday.