Eagles volleyball feels tough conference

By Bob San
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Totino Grace sophomore libero Lizzie Holscher receives a serve in the match against Maple Grove. (Photos by Brian Flanary)

The Totino Grace volleyball team enters this week with only one win in the Northwest Suburban Conference, yet the Eagles still have a lot to look forward to in this 2017 season.

Eagles coach Kayla Cole said the team’s conference record has a lot to do with bad luck in her team’s health plus the tough competition in the conference.
“We have one conference win, we have had a rough stretch of illness and injury,” Cole said.

Because of the poor health, many younger players have had to step up. According to Cole, two sophomores have been outstanding so far this season.

Eagle sophomore outside hitter Rylie Rios has provided stellar all-around play this season. (Photos by Brian Flanary)

“Rylie Rios (sophomore outside hitter) and Lizzie Holscher (sophomore libero) have been a huge part of our success so far,” Cole said. “Rylie has been exceptional in her passing and defense and continues to grow into a role as a go-to hitter for our team. Lizzie’s passing and defense ground our backcourt and she sets the tempo for our team with her effort.”

The Eagles, 5-10 overall, have played competitively in most matches even though they have ended up on the wrong side of the score more than they have wanted. Last week’s 3-0 loss at Maple Grove was a good example. The Eagles had late leads in both games one and two before the 14-1 Crimson rallied to win. Rios teamed up with Lauren Mikolich, Alison Walker and Elizabeth Pouliot to battle hard up front while Holscher and Megan Mullen made many spectacular digs in the backrow. Setter Belle Scheffler did a solid job running the offense.

Even though she would have liked to see her team with more conference wins, Cole feels the experience of playing against top 3A teams night in and night out will benefit her players come section time. Once section starts, the Eagles will be playing 2A opponents.

“We are competing well against every team and are using the great competition to prepare us for post-season,” Cole said.

The Eagles end the regular season at Park Center Thursday, Oct. 12.

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