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Lady Vandals now 15-0; next up is Pana

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By Andrew Harner

It’s the game that every Vandalia volleyball player looks forward to each year, and in 2012, it takes on even more meaning.

Pana, the team that has spoiled many Vandalia accomplishments over the years, will host the undefeated Lady Vandals on Thursday night in a non-conference matchup.

The Lady Panthers are not as strong this season as they have been in the past, but they are still one of the top three teams in the conference, and getting by them on the road is no easy task.

The varsity game will start at approximately 7 p.m.

Volley for the Cure

The annual Volley for the Cure game between Vandalia and Greenville is next Thursday in Greenville.

All proceeds from that game will benefit the Bond County Relay for Life.

The event begins at 5 p.m., and besides three volleyball games will include several raffles and a silent auction.

For more information, see any Vandalia volleyball player.

Regional assignment

The Lady Vandals have drawn a favorable assignment for this season’s regional tournament.

Chasing the school’s first regional championship since 1985, Vandalia will be playing on its home court in a pool with the following five teams.

•Flora
•Marquette Catholic
•Altamont
•Staunton
•Metro-East Lutheran

The regional feeds into the Cumberland sectional, which feeds to the St. Anthony super-sectional.

The tournament begins on Monday, Oct. 22.

Game recaps

On Tuesday, Vandalia picked up its sixth conference win, winning at Litchfield, 25-8, 23-25, 25-8.

Senior Austyn Krueger had the best overall game for the Lady Vandals (15-0, 6-0 SCC), recording seven kills – including her 100th of the season – and seven aces, and seniors RaeChelle Leiken (seven kills and four aces) and
Sierah Ruffner (six kills) also were vital to the win.

In the second set, Vandalia employed an experimental rotation to try to get some extra blocking.

After that failed, senior Shelby Foster would serve 16 straight times in the third set to secure the win. She had five aces during the game.

For the JV team, which was a 25-10, 25-18, winner, Jori Wagner had five aces, while Johanna Walton had six kills and Kadi Metzger had four kills.

Tuesday, Sept. 18
Vandalia 25, Litchfield 8
Litchfield 25, Vandalia 23
Vandalia 25, Litchfield 8
Kills: Krueger, 7; Leiken, 7; Ruffner, 6; Megan Godoyo, 5; Foster, 1; Jessica Sullens, 1.
Aces: Krueger, 7; Foster, 5; Leiken, 4; Gabby McNutt, 1.
Assists: McNutt, 6; Sullens, 4; Foster, 1; Ruffner, 1.
Record: 15-0

***

The Lady Vandals dispatched county rival Ramsey on Monday, winning in straight sets, 25-15, 25-11.

Ruffner led the attack with six kills and two blocks, while Krueger added four kills and two aces, and Dugan secured eight service aces for the Lady Vandals (14-0).

Sophomore Jessica Sullens recorded her 100th kill assist of the season during the match.

Monday, Sept. 17
Vandalia 25, Ramsey 15
Vandalia 25, Ramsey 11
Kills: Ruffner, 6; Krueger, 4; Leiken, 3; Foster, 1; Godoyo, 1.
Aces: Dugan, 8; Leiken, 3; Krueger, 2; McNutt, 2; Sasse, 1.
Assists: McNutt, 6; Sullens, 4.
Record: 14-0

***

HILLSBORO – The Lady Vandals had their best blocking game of the season in defeating Hillsboro last Thursday to stay undefeated.

Vandalia posted six blocks in the 25-18, 25-17, victory, the first two-set win in South Central Conference play for the Lady Vandals since the season-opener on Aug. 27.

“We worked on blocking this week, and that showed,” said coach Allison Smith. “We weren’t deep-bending and keeping our hands together, but tonight, they did a lot better job with the fundamentals of blocking.”

Senior RaeChelle Leiken had one solo block and two assists to go with her team-high nine kills for the Lady Vandals (9-0, 5-0 SCC).

She had led the team in kills for four straight matches, totaling 46 kills.

The match was a lot closer than the final score indicates, however, as Hillsboro held early leads in both sets and an 18-17 lead in the second set.

When a hitting error gave Vandalia the ball back at 18-18, senior Shelby Foster stepped up to the service line and did what she has done all season as the Lady Vandals’ best server.

Foster secured her only ace of the match in those final seven serves, but got help from her teammates to secure the win.

Leiken had back-to-back kills on the first two points, and she then teamed with junior Megan Godoyo on a block to force the Lady Hilltoppers into a timeout.

After the break, Godoyo killed off a point, Hillsboro made an error, Foster served her ace and Leiken sent a kill over the defense for the final point.

In the first set, it was Godoyo who had the hot hand at the service line, earning 10 straight points to erase an 8-10 deficit and turn it into an 18-10 lead.

Hillsboro exhausted both of its timeouts during that run, and Godoyo secured all of her team-high five aces during that stretch.

“She had good placement, and they were hard serves,” Smith said. “That’s what we worked on yesterday in practice.”

Both sets started with Vandalia facing 2-6 deficits, largely due to serve-receive and passing errors.

And though the win was still a big one for the program, Smith said the team will need to improve its game if the end-of-season goals like winning the conference and a regional championship are still to be achieved.

“We came out a little flat for some reason, but I’m glad we still got a win,” she said. “Our passing and serve-receive are where our troubles are right now.”

Thursday, Sept. 13
Vandalia 25, Hillsboro 17
Vandalia 25, Hillsboro 18
Kills: Leiken, 9; Austyn Krueger, 5; Gabby McNutt, 2; Sierah Ruffner, 2; Foster, 1; Godoyo, 1.
Aces: Godoyo, 5; Leiken, 3; Foster, 1.
Assists: Jessica Sullens, 7; Foster, 3; McNutt, 2; Haley Cothern, 1; Godoyo, 1; Ruffner, 1.
Blocks: Leiken, 2; Godoyo, 1 ½; Ruffner, 1 ½; McNutt, ½; Sullens, ½.
Record: 9-0 (5-0 SCC)