Volleyball aficionados understand the value of a good setter, something the average fan might take for granted. It was pretty obvious how important that position was Monday in a match where Regina was without its setter, and Clear Creek Amana was passing and setting with ease.
The Clippers, ranked 14th in Class 4A, swept the 2A Regals 25-14, 25-20 and 25-13 in the non-conference match to boost their record to 11-5 overall. Regina’s record is 9-10.
The Clippers got big performances from a number of players. Sophomore Alyssa Weldon finished with 12 kills to lead all players. Weldon had six in the first set alone. Natalie Brimeyer contributed six and Hannah Stokes and Ashley Prusha had five apiece.
“We played at a pretty high level,” Clear Creek Amana coach Brian Bronzynski said. “With no, seniors it forces you to mature maybe a little more quickly than what you’re ready for. I think we’re getting better at getting what we call ‘next-ball mentality.’ Not worrying about what’s on the scoreboard. Just go to the next ball.”
Those statistics are evidence of the balance the Clippers had at the net, something that Regina struggled with.
Mackenzie Fuller led the Clippers with 18 assists and Megan Beckler added 13. The Regals were missing setter Megan Bonnett.
Bonnett averages 8.76 assists per game. Going into last weekend’s tournament at Mid-Prairie, she had 286 assists while the next closest teammate had eight. She also is third on the team in digs.
“She’s out for a little bit,” Regina coach Megan Eskew said. She did not elaborate on the reasons for Bonnett’s absence. “We’ve only practiced with this lineup once. That being said, I don’t want to say we didn’t try hard, but we worked with what we had. Obviously we need more practice with that lineup, and we think things will go a little better. The timing didn’t work out for us, but we played a solid team. That’s what happens when you’re a little unprepared and a little on our heels tonight.”
“I think it would have been a much closer match if their setter had been playing,” Bronzynski said. “That obviously affected what they wanted to do offensively. Let’s be honest: it really hurt (hitter) Tori (Owens) not having Megan Bonnett play. I’ve coached Tori in club. I know what she’s capable of. It also took their middle attack away.”
Without Bonnett, Regina made an uncharacteristic number of hitting errors. Some of that came from the passes that weren’t quite in the right positions for the hitters.
“Our defense did a nice job,” Bronzynski said. “We blocked really well, but I think Lauren Stopko, our libero, did a particularly good job of being disciplined, staying on the angles we knew she was going to have to play.”
Stopko had 24 digs, Weldon 21 and Lexi Kinnaird nine. The Clippers had 10 blocks. Weldon, who had an outstanding all-around game, served four aces. Beckler had two and Fuller one.
Owens is Regina’s big threat at the net, but she was defended well by Clear Creek Amana. Freshman Sarah Lehman rotated into the front row when Owens went to the back, and Lehman gave the Regals some punch.
“Typically Sarah is our right side,” Eskew said. “We’re having a non-setter setting right now, so it’s hard for her to mix up the sets a lot and it’s easiest for her to go outside. In order to get Sarah more balls we switched her on the outside to get more swings. She did an awesome job.”