September 9th, 2017

Rockets fall to Walton (Ga.) in LVIT title game

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Rockets fall to Walton (Ga.) in LVIT title game
photo by Conor Revell

Back in the day Assumption’s volleyball team made it a goal and consistently won the Louisville Volleyball Invitational title.

However, going into this year’s tournament, the Rockets hadn’t won the title since 2012 and will have to wait another year.

Walton (Ga.) cruised past Assumption 25-20, 25-16 Saturday afternoon at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center to take the LVIT crown.

“Walton has some great swingers,” Assumption head coach Ron Kordes said. “They are quicker than us and our blockers gave them some holes. We made a few errors. I think we needed to slow it down. In every category of the game we probably got beat in some way. Perhaps it’s time to understand that we have some work to do and that we learn from this.”

The Rockets scored the first two points in the first game but struggled the rest of the way allowing the Raiders to go on a 6-0 run. Walton would lead by as many as six points and never allowed Assumption to get any closer than two points.

“Our chemistry is so strong this year and when we have the confidence and belief in each other, we are really good,” Walton head coach Suzanne Fitzgerald said. “We knew who their attackers were. Our backcourt was outstanding and that combined with our frontcourt dominated.”

Walton (19-0) jumped out to a 5-2 lead in game and never led by less than three the rest of the way with the final margin being its largest.

“We have to learn how to adjust quicker and faster,” Assumption setter Camille Nazor said. “We need to make changes quicker. They just dominated us at the net.”

Gabby Gonzales (10 assists), Relliy Macneill (10 kills), and Riley Spulin (seven kills) dominated the Assumption (16-1) frontline delivering 27 of their 31 kills. Caroline Cheney ran the offense dishing out 25 assists.

“I’m not sure what we could have done differently,” Kordes said. “I asses us and every time we started to make a bit of a run, we killed ourselves with an error. They played clean and didn’t miss many serves. When they missed a serve, they were gunning for us. We weren’t responsive; we haven’t played anybody as fast or as strong as them.”

The Rockets finished with 22 kills. Anna DeBeer (seven kills), Rylee Rader (five kills), and Nazor (20 assists) led the front line.

“I think they came in with a lot of energy and they were more confident than us,” DeBeer said. “They took charge at the net with their blocking and defense. They had control the whole game.”  

Assumption advanced to the title game by sweeping Sacred Heart in the quarterfinals and Notre Dame (Ohio) in the semifinals.

“We played really well in the first set against Sacred Heart,” Kordes said. “In the second set Sacred Heart picked it up. I don’t think it was much of us. Sacred Heart didn’t play well in the first set but much better in the second set. There’s always going to be something between us.”

The Rockets cruised past Cardinal Gibbons (Ill.) and Butler in pool play Friday night.

Walton defeated Bishop Watterson (Ohio) and Ryle in pool play Friday night and defeated Notre Dame in the first round and St. Joseph (Mo.) in the semifinals.

“Our middles played really well,” Fitzgerald said. “Our right side stepped up too and that opened up things for us. But, I can’t say enough about our defense. That opened us so much for us and we were so accurate.”

The Rockets have now only lost three sets on the year.

Gold Bracket Consolation title game

It was a tale of two games when Sacred Heart’s volleyball team squared off against Mercy Saturday.

After looking sluggish in the first half of the match, Mercy fought back and walked away with a surprising 16-25, 26-24, 25-15 victory over the Valkyries.

“We came in overconfident,” Mercy head coach Matt Thomerson said. “It’s that simple. We got too comfortable. Tournament style is a little different, we fell behind in the first set by three or four points and we thought we could come back and win. That didn’t happen. I told the girls that we needed to toughen up and not be tired.”

The Valkyries (7-5) finished with 32 kills and eight errors. Star setter Abigail Westenhofer led the way with eight kills and 15 assists. Kristen Clemons added eight kills and Emily Arnold added eight assists.

“We know that we can come out and beat a team like Mercy,” Westenhofer said. “We need to come out like that every time but we still have a bit more to learn to be able to play like that the entire game.”

Sacred Heart raced out to a 5-1 lead in the first game and led 23-13 at one point before closing out with a 25-16 victory.

“They came in with energy and we didn’t,” Mercy outside hitter Jayme Scott said. “We came in and we were making mistakes. We beat ourselves and we really had to step up in order to come back and win.”

In game two, the Valkyries roared out to an 8-1 lead and led 17-10 and 23-17 at one point with a chance to seal the match.

“’We had to step up mentally, Mercy outside hitter Emma Schurfranz said. “We were just standing around and letting balls drop. Our energy was low and we needed to pick it up. Towards the end, our energy picked up and we started to play better.”

But, the Jaguars (12-2) roared back and went on a 7-1 run to tie it at 24 before scoring the next two points to close the door.

“Our team became more confident and we stepped up defensively,” Thomerson said. “We started moving the ball around a lot better. Our players were in the right place and we were executing better.”

Mercy fell to St. Joseph (Mo.) in a Gold Bracket first round game before beating Notre Dame to advance to the consolation title game.

The Jaguars won their pool by beating St. Ursula and Holy Cross Friday night.

Sacred Heart was swept by Assumption Saturday morning in a Gold Bracket first round game before beating Bishop Alter (Ohio).

“We learned from that loss to Assumption that we have to come ready to play,” Sacred Heart head coach Brett Versen said. “We had played several matches the night before and we weren’t ready. We have to be much more prepared.”

The Valkyries won their pool Friday night by beating Knoxville Catholic and Manual.


For Presentation (13-4), the LVIT is a good learning tool for next weekend’s All “A” Classic Statewide Tournament.

The Toppers placed second place in Friday night’s pool play beating Eastern and took No. 3 Notre Dame to three sets.

“We just played with a lot of confidence against Notre Dame,” Pres head coach Tom Sawyer said. “They were bigger and blocked better than us. But we ran a quick set and we did a good job. Our defense also played great.”

On Saturday morning Pres fell to Watterson (Ohio) in the first round of the Silver Bracket and to St. Henry in the first round of the loser’s bracket before closing out with a victory against Dunbar.

With a rematch looming next week against St. Henry likely, the Toppers can take comfort in knowing that star Peyton McClinton didn’t play Saturday morning because of the ACT.

“I think we learned a lot about our team and we have a lot to be proud about,” Sawyer said. “We played a lot of Kentucky and out of state teams and we competed. We were astounded with how we played. If we play like this next week, we will be in really good shape.”

Holy Cross

The Cougars (5-9) stay was short finishing third in their pool and losing to Mercy and St. Ursula Friday night and losing to Male and Ryle in the Bronze bracket Saturday morning. 


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