Rebels send Raiders home with three-set loss

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Southridge's Rose Tempel, left, Anna Altstadt and Mady Neukam jump to try and block a spike from South Spencer's Alix Stoermer during Monday's sectional match in Ferdinand. The Raiders lost 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-16) to South Spencer as their season came to a close on Monday evening. For more photos from the match, click here.


FERDINAND — It’s been a season of learning for all that were involved with the Southridge volleyball program this season.

The coaching staff was new to the team, and it took time for everyone to get familiar with each other’s strategy, play style and coaching approach.

The Raiders didn’t have the best end to their season to build up a sense of momentum and continuity going into sectional (they lost their last eight matches), but they still came into their match against South Spencer pumped up and ready to begin anew in the postseason.

They played their hardest but in the end the Raiders fell to the Rebels 3-0 (19-25, 19-25, 16-25) and closed out their season.

Despite the result of the match, Raider head coach Mande Keusch said that she saw a lot of good things happen on the court for her team. Obviously she and the team hoped to be moving on, but she was proud of how the team played on Monday night.

“We did a lot of things well,” she said. “We probably served the best we have all season, we had a very small amount of serving errors. Our serve-receive came and went. I was proud of the aggressiveness of our hitters. Second and third game we did a lot better job of getting some touches on the ball and blocks to make them mix up their shots.”

Southridge was able to get off to a strong start in the beginning of the match. The Raiders were able to get a few good touches from junior middle hitter Anna Altstadt, junior libero Tatiana Delgado, freshman outside hitter Mikah Goeppner, and senior outside hitter Mady Neukam to jump out to an 11-4 lead. But the Rebels pushed back by going on a 10-0 run of their own to turn the Tide in their favor sparked by seniors Cali Woodburn and Hannah Compton.

Southridge tried to fight back and stem the oncoming tide from South Spencer, but the Rebels were able to put up a couple more streaks to close out the first game 25-19.

Southridge's Tatiana Delgado, right, talks with her teammate Rose Tempel following the Raiders loss to South Spencer in Monday's sectional volleyball game in Ferdinand. Delgado, who will be a senior next year, is excited to be one of Southridge's leaders next year as the Raiders will look to continue to grow their younger players and groom them for the varsity level next year. For more photos from the match, click here.

The Rebels didn’t let the Raiders breathe across the last two games. South Spencer jumped out to early leads in games two and three to establish control and rode a combination of hard-charging kills and off-balance play from Southridge to cruise to victory and the next round of the sectional. The Raiders gave it all they had, but it just seemed that they lacked the height and firepower to overcome the early deficits that materialized in the last two games.

Altstadt led the team with nine kills (including two aces), while sophomore outside hitter Rose Tempel knocked down seven kills of her own. Savannah Goeppner had 15 assists and junior setter Anna Kappner had an additional seven. Senior outside hitter Amanda Brewer finished with nine digs, Neukam had eight. Altstadt also had a pair of blocks.

Keusch said the year was a journey for the whole team, and believes that both the coaching staff and the returning players can only benefit from the experience together moving forward. She is excited that she will see a lot of the girls come back next season, as only three seniors will be graduating this year. She hopes that the team not only comes back a year wiser, but hopes that they can establish their confidence levels early in order to produce better results on the court next season.

“We just need to build confidence,” she said. “It’s been quite a few years of not doing well as a team, and they’re kind of still in that thought process of ‘Maybe we’ll win,’ instead of having that definite ‘I want to come out and be a competitor’ (attitude). And I think a big part of that is confidence.”

Delgado, who said she wants to do everything she can to step up as a leader in her senior year next season, is already onboard with the message.

“I’m going to help out the girls that are younger and give them more confidence,” she said. “As an underclassmen playing varsity, you lack a little bit of confidence because you’re nervous. It’s nice to have someone there who will give you that extra boost of confidence. We’re going to have a big group, and I think helping them out will increase our ability to play as a team.”

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