(Carroll) — After a 1-2 start, the Kuemper Catholic volleyball team has hit its stride and carries a nine-match win streak into Tuesday’s conference Clash with Shenandoah.
The Knights (20-3) are fresh off a Championship performance at Sunday’s CYO Tournament in Le Mars, where they beat 1A No. 7 Gehlen Catholic, 4A No. 8 Bishop Heelan, Remsen, St. Mary’s and Bishop Garrigan.
“I was a little nervous,” Coach Russell Wintermote said about Sunday’s tournament. “I had never seen those teams, but had heard a lot of good things. It was the first CYO Tournament title in four years. I was pleased with the girls and the coaching staff. They’ve put in a lot of hard work. “
The Knights graduated two of their top four hitters from last year, but this year’s squad is molding into form at the right time.
“We’re starting to see them react to the things we discuss,” Wintermote said. “It’s fun seeing them progress.”
Serve receive has been an area of concern for Kuemper this season, but Wintermote feels his team is correcting their struggles in that area.
“We were hoping we would solve our serve/receive and keep the ball in play,” he said. “That was our biggest takeaway — we did a tremendous job of serve/receive.”
Senior Sophie Badding leads Kuemper’s offense with 2.7 Kills per set, and Kaci Peter (2.0 KPS), Lauren Boell (1.5 KPS), Frannie Glynn (1.5 KPS), Aubrey Heuton (1.4 KPS) and Brianna Wittrock (0.9 KPS) complement her in the attacking offense.
The Knights lean on two setters: Seniors Ashlyn Badding (5.7 APS) and Macy Simons (4.1 APS).
Freshman Kaylie Simons leads the Kuemper defense with 3.5 digs per set, and Sophie Badding adds 1.4 blocks per set.
Kuemper’s offense serves at a 91.4% efficiency, led by a 97.4% clip from Lauren Boell. Heuton has a team-high 19 aces, and Macy Simons (16), Kaylie Simons (14), Lauren Boell (12), Ashlyn Badding (12) and Brianna Wittrock (11) also have double-digit aces.
Kuemper is no stranger to making deep postseason pushes. They have the pieces to do so again. It’s just a matter of playing their best when it matters most.
“We need to work more on our free-ball offense,” Wintermote said. “We’re a quicker-paced offense. That’s something Kuemper isn’t used to. We hope what we see with our free-ball offense will pay big dividends.”
Kuemper Returns to action Tuesday night against Shenandoah. Check out the full interview with Coach Wintermote below.