Wildcats suffer close volleyball loss

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper senior Kayla Fuhs had a pair of aces, an assist and 11 digs in the 3-1 match loss to Evansville Reitz Tuesday.


JASPER — It wasn't decided by much, but the end result proved heartbreaking.

Jasper welcomed Southern Indiana Athletic Conference rival Evansville Reitz for its home opener Tuesday. The Wildcats (0-2, 0-1) lost the opening set, 25-17, to the Panthers, but they pulled even, 25-22, to take the second set. They looked to bounce back from their season-opener loss on Monday at Loogootee, and they sat on their 24th point in both the third and fourth sets.

However, the late leads the Wildcats established did not hold. Reitz ended up tying both sets, taking a 27-25 win in the third set, and then turning a 24-23 deficit in the fourth set to another 27-25 win to give the Panthers the match.

"I think it was just us being able to read their hitters and doing our jobs and what our responsibilities are on their big hitters that they had," Wildcats coach Jennifer Hohl said. "I think a positive thing out of this game — we see things that we have done really well, and then also some things that we still need to work on."

Jasper experimented with a new rotation on offense that it had not practiced with, but Hohl thought the Wildcats transitioned well with that. The coaches told the players in the locker room after the game that they're looking for people who can put the ball down, and on this night, it was junior Izzy Hopf who had a team-high eight kills.

When Hohl looked at the two losses, she noticed a common theme — how the team starts. The Panthers took the first set, 25-17, the largest margin of the night for a win in any set, and the same thing happened to the Wildcats on Monday when the Lions won the opening set, 25-15. Hohl wants to see her players come out with more energy and enthusiasm.

Jasper will get the day off to practice on Wednesday, and the team will focus a lot on its blocking, as well as emphasizing defense that focuses on reading and reacting against the opposing hitters.

The Wildcats will try to get in the win column for the first time this year in their scheduled 7:30 p.m. game Thursday at home against another SIAC rival in Evansville Central.

"I think we're serving pretty aggressively — I'm pretty pleased with our serving," Hohl said. "I think our defense, it's getting there. I think (senior) Kayla (Fuhs) and (junior) Jayden (Pfister) did a great job of defense in the back row tonight. We just need to get a couple more girls in that mix with the defense there. But I think tomorrow's a new day. We have a clean slate, we start fresh and then we get back at it."

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