On 29 Jan, H2 15 IL West ventured out to St. Peters to play in their third tournament of the season at Gametime Sports. After a weekend off to rest from battling in their first 16’s tournament of the season, the girls went into Gametime with a goal of no less than Gold! Unfortunately, we were short-handed missing outside hitter Sydney Henke, Libero Madison Haake and DS Gracie Loepker due to prior commitments, the girls needed a call to the 14-1 IL West team bullpen. Outside hitter Tori Mohesky and Libero Emily Johnston, both athletes some three years younger than most of their teammates and competitors stepped up. Thanks to the “team first” attitude, they were welcomed into the rotation. It didn’t take long for them to earn the respect of their competitors and teammates. After taking four of six sets played, a small margin of a three-point differential placed us in 2nd of pool play, still in the hunt for Gold! The ladies were paired to face a good blocking and tough serving Tri County team. We started off the 1st set slow going down quickly, but to battle to a 19-15 1st set loss was huge after being down 16-5 at one time. The 2nd set was more like what allowed us to march through pool play…strong serving and fast transitions. Big runs by setters Rylee Sudholt and Dominique Loveless along with outside Tori Mohesky, we were able to take the 2nd set easily 19-12. Onto the 3rd set, the girls felt the momentum and started off fast serving run by Emily and Tori. Unfortunately, Tri County came to block and a nice serving run by their Libero put us behind midway and the ladies couldn’t dig out from the deficit going down 15-9. Although the girls fell short of their goal for Gold, we definitely took away some key things to work on over the next couple of weeks leading into the President’s Day Tournament.

These ladies went into this tournament without three of their everyday teammates and embraced the two that stepped in to play with them. It was a tough test, but they learned that these matches help to prepare the team for potential sickness or injuries that tend to pop up during a grueling club season. Team accomplishments were led by outside hitter Tori Mohesky who had a team high 12 kills, four digs and nine service aces. Outside hitter Machala Ingram was right on Tori’s tail with 11 kills, six digs and five service aces. Middle hitter Irelynne Loesche contributed five kills to the mix. Libero Emily Johnston broke those big game jitters with the older division to bring in a staggering 12 service aces and 14 digs. Setters Rylee Sudholt and Dominique Loveless brought in 16 assists, five service aces and 18 assists with three service aces, respectively. This weekend the 15’s return to full strength and make their way to St. Louis Community College in the series UA#10 tournament as a tune-up for the Nike President’s Day weekend tournament. Coach Tori and I can see the progression in these young athletes. They are primed for big things!