Riverview volleyball tops Flat Rock w/ PHOTO GALLERY – The News Herald

Wednesday’s match between Riverview and Flat Rock was important for both teams, but for different reasons.

Riverview at Flat Rock volleyball photo gallery

Visiting Riverview was looking to stay near the top portion of the Huron League while a young Flat Rock Squad was still eyeing its first league win.

The host Rams put up a good battle at times but the Pirates ultimately left town with a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-20, 25-11).

“Our main focus tonight was minimizing our errors, from hitting to serving,” Riverview Coach Alyssa LaFace said. “We really just wanted to focus on our side and controlling the game throughout.”

It was Flat Rock that started the match with a strong start, tallying five of the first six points in the opening set. But the Bucs slowly worked their way back to take a lead, closing out the set with 15 of the final 20 points.

Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group

Flat Rock’s Julia Bint (2) plays the ball during her team’s matchup with visiting Riverview on Wednesday night. The host Rams fell to the tough Pirates Squad 3-0. (Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group)

The second set was the most competitive as both coaches at different points had to call a timeout. Defense was key for the two teams throughout the set, something LaFace says the team focuses on quite a bit.

“We work on our defense a lot,” LaFace said. “It is about picking up tips and protecting the perimeter. Hats off to Flat Rock though because they were scrappy as well.”

While Riverview led most of the way in the middle set, it wasn’t until late when they were able to pull away from the Rams, scoring five of the final seven points.

The visitors completed the match Sweep in convincing fashion, putting together two separate extended runs to put the third set out of reach for Flat Rock.

Rams Coach MacKenzie Kaiser talked about being more consistently competitive throughout matches, rather than letting the opposition go on longer spurts of dictating play.

“Right now that is something we’re trying to figure out,” Kaiser said. “We’ll be point for point in the beginning of a game then we’ll go into a slump. Then it becomes hard to crawl back out of those holes, especially against a good team like Riverview.”

Flat Rock this season is deploying more underclassmen (6) than Seniors (5): five sophomores and one freshman. Following the loss, the Rams are now 0-4 in conference matches, having won just one out of 13 sets played.

Maddie Stager is one of those sophomores, she accounted for half of the team’s 14 kills on Wednesday. Makayla Bunce had four kills while Alexis Knight, Jade Bergeron and Reagan Hindon each had one.

Knight did the bulk of setting up those team points, assisting on 11 kills. Kendall Kuderick had two assists while Julia Bint had one. The Rams were busy digging out Riverview shot attempts, totaling 50 digs as a unit. Nine players had at least one dig; Kuduerick led the team with 12 while Knight had 11.

Kaiser has embraced the growing pains that are to be expected with this year’s bunch. While she praises her players for their respective skill sets, she is still figuring out how to make it all click together as a unit.

“We’re not only trying to see where everyone fits on the court individually but also as a team,” Kaiser said. “With so many new players and few returning starters, it is hard to find that team chemistry. We’re very individually talented but trying to piece it together has been a struggle.”

As for Riverview, they have now won three of four league matches. The Bucs are part of a logjam in the Huron League where four teams sit with a 3-1 record.

Riverview will face two of those other 3-1 teams, beginning with a trip to Carleton Airport on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7 pm before hosting Milan two nights later.

LaFace talked about the importance of not only bringing in momentum but maintaining it throughout high-leverage matches.

“This team has struggled at times with carrying momentum and giving the opponent runs on points,” LaFace said. “Because then we start feeding off of what they are doing instead of our own side. So it’s big for us to keep that energy up and carry it throughout the match.”

Flat Rock Meanwhile faces perhaps its toughest test of the season when it hosts league-leading and perennial state power Monroe St Mary Catholic Central on Monday, Sept. 26. The Rams will then host area rival Grosse Ile two nights later.

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