Rangers amp up the energy for first victory

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Forest Park’s Kylie Giesler, left, Faith Zazzetti, Emma Hassfurther and Macie Zink laughed after watching the video they took of the team celebrating in the locker room after the Rangers defeated South Spencer in three sets Monday evening in Ferdinand. On Monday, the Rangers made a loud statement — both with their voices and with their play on the court. For more photos from the match, click here.


FERDINAND — The sound of a volleyball gym can be deafening at times.

From parents yelling in jubilation after a big kill to the student section chanting “Go Big Green” during a timeout, it wasn’t easy to try and have a conversation in Forest Park’s Buechler Arena on Monday night. Add in a group of screaming high school volleyball players celebrating one of Jordyn Wiseman’s aces or Kennedy Sermersheim’s match-clinching kill and it almost becomes near impossible.

“You’re going to hear them make noise whether it’s with their talent or with their voices,”said Ranger head coach Alexa Rasche following the Rangers 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-23) victory over Pocket Athletic Conference and sectional foe South Spencer for Forest Park’s first victory of the season.

While the Rangers (1-4, 1-1) may be incredibly loud during big matches such as Monday night’s, it isn’t necessarily something they practice — in fact, sometimes their warm-up sessions can almost be too quiet.

“The funny thing is, in practice we’re not really that loud at all,” said junior Kylie Giesler who finished with eight kills and a team-high 21 digs in the victory. “But during games, it’s just a totally different atmosphere — I think the student section helped us out a lot tonight too.”

Each set in Monday night’s match was down to the wire even though Forest Park was able to get a big advantage at certain points during each of the sets.

In the opening stanza, the Rangers were able to build up a 14-9 lead midway through the set. However, a 5-0 run late in the set pushed the Rebels back within two points and forced Rasche to call a timeout. Forest Park answered with a 6-0 run to close out the set including two of Faith Zazzetti’s nine kills and a couple of aces from Bralyn Boehm.

The second set was more narrow than the first with Forest Park’s biggest lead reaching five points (15-10 and 19-14). Just like in the first set, South Spencer started to catch fire at the end of the set and nearly was able to take the lead after tying the game a few times. But a kill from Giesler and an error by the Rebels gave Forest Park a 26-24 set win and a 2-0 match lead.

“Finishing each game has been our main struggle lately,” Giesler said. “We’ve been working the past few games on that and tonight, I’m not sure what got into us, but we were able to stay calm at the end.”

Rasche added, “I’ve tried to tell them to just stay organized on the court because adrenaline starts to run high. As long as you don’t let the adrenaline and excitement take over, then we can put the ball away and play our offense instead of constantly being on defense.”

The third set looked to be completely in Forest Park’s control early on as the Rangers were able to build up a 15-6 lead about midway through. However, South Spencer went on a 7-0 run to pull back within one point at 16-15.

At the end of the set, the Rangers got some big serves from Wiseman (including a service ace) and a couple of blocks from Zazzetti and Macie Zink before the ninth and final kill from Sermersheim sealed Forest Park’s first victory of the season.

Forest Park’s Kylie Giesler spiked the ball past South Spencer blockers Kelsey Bowlds, left, and Jasmynn Mullen in the second set of the Monday evening match in Ferdinand. Giesler, one of the members of Forest Park’s talented junior class, finished with eight kills and a team-high 21 digs. For more photos from the match, click here.

For Rasche, she was happy to have someone with the experience and composure of Wiseman behind the service line near the end of the match. Wiseman is one of three seniors on the varsity roster along with Bailey Leonard and Jaylyn Giesler.

“Jordyn is a very calm, collected individual and she’s someone who doesn’t get rattled easily,” Rasche said. “I know having her in any position at the end of a game we’re going to do well because she’s the backbone. I mean, at the libero position you kind of have to be and we’ve had that conversation with her about leading by example and she did that tonight.”

Wiseman says that during stressful situations in matches, she tries to work with her teammates and learn what techniques and ways to cope with bad situations work for each of them.

“Most of us are upperclassmen so we’ve played with each other for years now so we’re pretty close with each other,” Wiseman said. “I know that certain players I have to go over and talk to them and tell them to breathe and that it’s going to be okay. I’m the same way, I know how I operate too.”

The Rangers aren’t just happy to get their first victory of the season under their belt, they’re also excited to see what this win will do to their confidence with Evansville Mater Dei coming up tonight — a sectional rival that Forest Park always has their eyes on.

Rasche is hoping that the team takes what they learned in the victory on Monday and continues to play with that same intensity for the rest of the season no matter who their opponent is.

“I think we’ll start to utilize the fact that energy really plays into the flow of the game and they can’t lose that energy or momentum,” Rasche said. “(Monday) was a great learning experience for them and I hope it fuels their fire for (tonight). I’m excited to see how it plays out.”

Giesler added: “Mater Dei has always been a big rival of ours so this (confidence) is going to definitely help (tonight). I think having the momentum will help us out a lot.”

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