August 29th, 2018

Nazor, Rader, DeBeer power Rockets past rival

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer


Nazor, Rader, DeBeer power Rockets past rival
Assumption's Camille Nazor (left), Rylee Rader (middle) and Anna DeBeer (right) led the Rockets to a straight-set win over rival Sacred Heart

The No. 1-ranked Assumption Rockets leaned on the prodigious talents of juniors Rylee Rader and Anna DeBeer in dispatching rival Sacred Heart in straight sets 25-18, 25-10, 25-12 Wednesday night before a packed home crowd of more than 1,200.

The home squad had to withstand a spirited attack at the outset of the match from the No. 2-ranked Valkyries. The visitors scored the first three points of the match on impressive kills from junior Jessica Roby, senior Oliva Fogo and junior Kristen Clemons.

But then the Rockets settled into a rhythm that coincided with DeBeer entering the front row. After SHA (7-3) rallied to tie the score at 9-9, Assumption went on a 16-9 run to close out the set with DeBeer notching four of her six first-set kills in that span.

“It was definitely a team effort,” Assumption senior setter Camille Nazor said. “Rylee (Rader) and Anna (DeBeer) are my go-to hitters, but I just wanted to keep everyone calm. This crowd and this atmosphere provided so much energy and it’s important that our younger players turn their nervousness into energy.”

Nazor, a Duke commit, is coming off of a minor knee procedure to repair her meniscus and still rounding into playing shape. She was calm and collected throughout as she quarterbacked the Rockets (8-0) to a dominating 42-21 edge in kills.

To have the productive duo of Rader and DeBeer at her beck and call is a comfort Nazor doesn’t dismiss.

“We really had to watch their blockers and when they paid more attention to Rylee in the middle I was able to find Anna outside,” Nazor said. “We’re always trying to put our hitters in the best position to succeed and terminate the set.”

DeBeer, a Louisville commit, is a true terminator. She soars beyond most any block she’ll see on this level and racked up 16 kills on the night.

If DeBeer’s The Terminator, then call Rader, an Ohio State commit, “The Rally Killer” for her penchant to stuff opponents at the net with her 6-foot-3 frame and long reach. Rader registered 12 kills, three stuff blocks and an ace and was a major factor in negating Sacred Heart’s talented opposite hitter Olivia Fogo.

“Coach Kordes always talks about handling your nerves in this atmosphere and turning negatives into positives,” Rader said. “They came at us really hard early in the match and we had to focus on our jobs. We did a good in practice know who their go-to hitters were in Olivia (Fogo) and Kristen (Clemons) and we were ready with our block.”

As competitive as the first set was, the final two sets were all downhill in Assumption’s favor. DeBeer cranked six more kills and added an ace in the second set while Rader put away seven kills and added a stuff block to end the match.

Those two juniors were supported by a terrific defensive effort led by senior libero Karly Basham as well as senior hitters Mary Ann O’Toole (5 kills), Callie Martin (3 kills, 2 aces) and middle blocker Emma Monks (5 kills, 2 blocks).

“We worked so hard in practice to prepare for Sacred Heart and for the atmosphere,” DeBeer said. “We did a great job serving and our defense was getting to everything. It’s so important to maintain composure and stay focused. This crowd got me motivated to put the ball down every time I got set.”

While the Valkyries had a great plan of attack early, it withered under the intense pressure Assumption brings at the net and in another outstanding group of defensive players.

“We came out with a lot of energy and we were determined to hang in there with them,” said Clemons of her Valkyries teammates. “They got some really big kills, a couple of blocks and digs and we never really bounced back from that. Coach Versen talked to us about making sure we keep working together and play as a team, pick each other up and stay positive on the court.”

Clemons led the Valkyries with 9 kills and a stuff block while freshman outside hitter Tess Schrenger collected five kills.

The Valkyries won the state title in 2016, Versen’s first year as head coach. And they showed flashes of greatness in this match. But they’ll have their work cut out for them to make another state title run with Assumption blocking them in the 7th Region.

“Every team that comes into this gym is going to they have at you,” Rockets head coach Ron Kordes said. “Sacred Heart did just that. Their outside hitter, Roby, was rearing back and firing at us early and that’s what teams do to us. We had to be able to handle their early attack, keep our composure and once we tied the score it was good to see how our girls competed.”

Assumption will play at Floyd Central on Saturday and host No. 3 Mercy next Tuesday. Sacred Heart faces Floyd Central next Tuesday in advance of the LVIT which starts Friday, Sep. 7. 

 

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