Moving pieces: Jeeps looking for lineup mesh in drought

Photo by Hunter TIckel/Special To The Herald
Senior outside hitter Courtney Dick (13) rises up for the first of back-to-back aces early in the first set against non-conference foe Perry Central on Tuesday in Leopold. The Jeeps lost, 3-0.

Special To The Herald

LEOPOLD — Northeast Dubois is amidst a four-game slump following a 3-0 loss to Perry Central on Tuesday.

“First off it starts with practice,” junior Rhylan Kalb said. “We got to take practice seriously. We have been lacking a lot lately. That’s not just coach’s fault, that’s us as players. We’re not taking things seriously anymore. That’s a big part. Coming out and having energy, we don’t have energy after any points. After we lose, we are down. Nothing is changing.”

The Jeeps (3-7) couldn’t muster Perry Central’s aggression from the opening serve. The Commodores used a 6-2 burst to coast to win the opening set 25-18.

Senior Courtney Dick, who had six service points on the night, notched back-to-back aces early in the set.

The Jeeps led early in the second set before the Commodores enforced their will with a 25-14 margin.

Dubois led again in the third set, 8-7, then conceded five straight to extinguish momentum in a 25-17 loss.

“Honestly, come together and try to talk to each other more,” junior Reagan Knies said of where they need to show growth.

The Jeeps have shifted their lineup around twice this year as they looked for a groove on offense.

“Communication is the only thing we actually need to work on,” Knies said. “Some people haven’t played back row and we need to work on that, that’s the plan.”

From the outset, Dubois opted to play a 5-1 with one setter before second-year coach Leigh-Ann Brosmer opted for a 6-2.

In the latter scenario, the team has six hitters and two setters that rotate onto the floor.

Initially in the young season, sophomores Jordan and Avery Haefling were setting up teammates.

Jordan, who will now see a lot of time in the back, saw a lot of the action and was leading the team with 58 assists on 3.4 per set, coming into Tuesday’s match.

The Haeflings were replaced by Kalb and senior Hadley Fuhrman. Kalb had 11 assists and 13 digs to lead the team on Tuesday. Fuhrman notched six kills and 11 digs against Perry Central.

Fuhrman has been useful in several aspects, as she has 60 kills and 108 digs after Tuesday. Her coach said her attacking will be pivotal moving forward.

The latest piece of the puzzle is Kalb as the primary ball-handler as Brosmer gave her the nod while heeding the advice from her players.

Kalb possesses a knack for hammering the ball over the net, too. She had 58 kills heading into Tuesday, and left Leopold with 101 digs on the season.

“She’s an all-around player,” Brosmer said. “Anything you ask of her, she’ll do it. Her setting now — she’s tall and when you’re in the front row, you can either set someone up or you can turn and kill the ball yourself. You’ve got so many opportunities with being the setter as of right now, that she can do whatever she wants.”

It’s been a streaky go in 2021 for the Jeeps, who won six of their first seven sets against Crawford County and Wood Memorial.

“They played really good,” Brosmer said. “They worked hard all summer long.”

They followed the success by securing one win in the next three matches. After a 2-0 sweep of North Daviess, Dubois dropped three straight.

“When you play some tougher schools it’s a mental game at that point,” Brosmer said. “They are working on trying to find how to keep themselves out of that mental state.”

On the serving front, Brosmer said the team delivers aces from multiple girls.

Knies was leading the team with 23 aces with .9 per set and had six blocks after nine matches.

“Every night it can be different,” Brosmer said. “Somebody can be on and the next night someone else can be on. You look at game film there’s somebody that’s always on on a different night. When other schools get your game film and look at that, they don’t know who is going to be your power hitter in that game.”

More on