Rangers win first sectional match since 2010October 9, 2018
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
FERDINAND — This season has brought a lot of ups and downs to the Forest Park volleyball team.
But Tuesday night’s home sectional opener against Perry Central? Well, it just might have been their loudest positive statement of the year.
“My ears are still ringing from the locker room,” junior Faith Zazzetti said with a laugh following the Rangers 3-0 sweep over the Commodores (26-24, 25-18, 25-20) on Tuesday in Ferdinand. “We’re so excited right now, we really just need to keep that energy going.”
Junior Kylie Giesler described the postgame celebration as “chaos, but happy chaos”. But the festivities were expected to be raucous — Tuesday’s victory was Forest Park’s first sectional victory since October 21, 2010 when they defeated South Spencer 3-0.
All three sets were close, back-and-forth affairs but head coach Alexa Rasche felt that the Rangers (6-20) looked a little bit different than they had in any other match this year.
“Honestly, this was a completely different team than we’ve seen during the entire season — it was amazing,” Rasche said. “We saw spurts of it during our first game against Perry Central but this one it was consistent all the way through and that’s something we’ve been preaching.”
Earlier this season on September 18, the Commodores defeated the Rangers 3-2 (17-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-20, 17-15) in a gritty battle that took an extended fifth set to determine a winner.
But on Tuesday, the Rangers wanted to jump out and gain control early. In the first set, Forest Park jumped out to a 15-10 lead thanks to some kills from Giesler and Kennedy Sermersheim but the Commodores went on a mini run to pull back within one before the Rangers took a 17-14 lead once again to force a Commodore timeout.
Perry Central (4-22) once again rallied late as they even had a few brief leads at the 23-22 mark and 24-23 mark but the Rangers ended the set on a positive note as Zazzetti smashed a monster kill over the net to give Forest Park the first set, 26-24.
“I was nervous going into (the match) tonight but I just wanted to step up and be a leader on the team,” Zazzetti said. “This was my third year on varsity so it felt good to show up tonight.”
Rasche added: “The first set, we had it then let it go a bit but pulling out the first one gave us the confidence to liven up the crowd a bit. I think that’s exactly what we needed.”
The second set once again started back and forth as neither team was able to gain more than a two-point advantage but the Commodores went on a little run midway through the set to take a 13-12 lead and force a Ranger timeout. However, Forest Park went on a run that saw the Rangers take advantage of several Perry Central errors for a 20-16 lead. The Commodores won just two more points the remainder of the set as an abundance of Perry Central errors helped send Forest Park to a 2-0 lead with a 25-18 second set win.
The Rangers kept their confidence rolling into the third set as they flip-flopped the match lead at the beginning of the set until Forest Park took a 15-11 lead to force a Perry Central timeout. However, the Commodores would not lie down easily as they rallied back from a 19-13 deficit to trail by just two at 21-19 and force a Forest Park timeout.
The Rangers were able to close the set on a high note as Emma Hassfurther had a kill and Forest Park forced some Perry Central errors en route to a 25-20 set win and a 3-0 match sweep.
“They came together as a team which I was really thrilled about,” Rasche said. “When one person was down, someone else took over or picked them up. It was a true team effort and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Zazzetti added: “Before every game we get in the huddle and we tell ourselves we’ll have good energy and we’re going to come together but it seems like we never do it. Tonight, we just actually did it and got it together.”
Final stat leaders from the win were Faith Zazzetti (six kills, three blocks), Kylie Giesler (six kills, nine digs, 17 assists, three blocks), Kennedy Sermersheim (four kills, nine points), Macie Zink (12 digs), and Jaylyn Giesler (eight digs, nine points).
With the victory, Forest Park will advance to the sectional semifinal where they’ll face North Posey. The Rangers defeated the Vikings 3-2 (25-13, 19-25, 17-25, 25-19, 21-19) earlier this season but anything can happen in the postseason.
The biggest key to getting past North Posey and advancing to the sectional championship match?
“Honestly, just play like we did tonight,” Giesler said. “We played some of our best volleyball tonight. It’s just an exciting moment, putting all of our work together.”
Rasche added: “I think this win just put fire under their tails. I couldn’t be more excited that this is how we started sectional — they came in consistent, strong, powerful and I think we made a statement tonight.”
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