Aggressive front-row helps Soroco volleyball defeat Hayden
OAK CREEK — The Soroco High School Rams girls volleyball team (6-8,2-4) came out swinging when they hosted their rival, Hayden (5-8,1-6), on Saturday.
A group of underclassmen on the Rams have set the tone for a new style of volleyball than seen in previous years, one with a more aggressive offense at the net.
“The last few weeks, its just been awesome all the way around,” Soroco head coach Jeannie Jo Logan said. “Every single one of my hitters have just gotten better and better.”
The best part is that they’re just getting started and in the three-game sweep over the Tigers, spectators had a glance of what the future could hold for the Rams.
“It’s a little bit nerve wracking because I’m a freshman,” Soroco’s Sophia Benjamin said. “But it’s really fun. We’ve been practicing a lot about being aggressive on the front row and the team chemistry has come together more.”
Benjamin and Peyton Parker are two freshmen on the front row. Against the Tigers, Benjamin had the final say with kills to win the first and third sets. Peyton also nailed in pivotal kills deep in the third set, when the Rams were battling the Tigers back and forth. She’d force a 21-20 advantage and avoid a loss to tie the set at 25-25.
Benjamin tops the team in kill efficiency at 41.9 percent and has the third-most kills. She’s also one of the top blockers on defense.
In a match against hitters like juniors Alex Camiletti, Joey Deckler and sophomore Leah Carrouth on the other side, Benjamin, and other members of the front line, were able to scramble the Tigers with a strong blocking scheme.
“Our blocking has come a long way, we’ve really established our front row,” sophomore Makinley Parker said. “We are triple blocking on a few rotations, it’s the adjustment, but we’ve worked together to figure that out.”
As a second-year varsity veteran, Makinley leads the team in kills, but also aggression. Deep in the third set, the Tigers were frantically tipping to stay alive while Makinley continued to swing at every set that came her way. That’s what ultimately led to the Rams closing the set: Playing like they were on top, even when they were down, rather than striving to stay alive.
“I can hit anything as long as the set is where it needs to be,” Makinley said. “I just tell my setters if it’s close enough and it’s where it needs to be, I’ll do my best to get there because they work hard, and I’m there too.
Makinley said part of her hitting improvement comes from working closely with the coaches on her approach. She’s worked more on getting her feet to the ball and jumping straight up, rather than jumping outward and reaching. Blocking has shown improvement with a similar approach: Makinley is squaring her hips to the block more. As an outside hitter, it’s her job to set the block for the middle blocker coming over to help.
Now, as the Rams move into the second half of league play, they hope the pieces can come together to collect more wins.
“We went to that tournament in Simla and there’s some should’ve, would’ve-type situations over there,” Logan said. “And we talked about that a little this week. That one team, one goal, one machine is what we’re picking up as a little bit of a motto for us.”
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