It is not often that a game summary begins with a shout-out to the team manager. However, it should be noted that senior Dylan Kaminski served as head scorekeeper for the first time during the JV volleyball team’s Sept. 10 matches against Walker and North Atlanta. He had prepared for this moment, being tutored by former super manager and senior Lily Kahn and Assistant Coach Hayley Coates, and he was outstanding, even catching North Atlanta serving out of rotation to begin the third set of the second game.
Now, onto the games…
Some victories are given, and some are earned, and the JV volleyball squad experienced both this past week. The first game against a depleted Walker squad was a victory given (25-15, 25-14). However, the Pace squad continued to work on its new 6-2 setter rotation of freshmen Adair Smith and Charlee Chastain. Both student-athletes did a superb job tracking down passes and setting the ball to outside hitter Riley Alkire, a sophomore, and freshman middle Kennedi Evans all night long.
The second game against North Atlanta was much tougher and really tested the tenacity and grit of the Pace squad, and they came through (25-17, 17-25, 15-7)! The back row solidified their passing with sophomore captain Camille Caton quarterbacking the back row along with freshman defensive specialist Cece Hale and freshman libero Ansli Hennings, whose game continues to improve with every ball thrown her way. Alkire continued her sterling play, but now the Knights have an emerging dual threat from the outside: freshman Sydney Vincent began to simply pound North Atlanta into submission. Sophomore Janie Cross also provided an offensive threat from the right side, showering the North Atlanta team with crosscourt hits. However, the player who was just astonishing during a streak of nine straight serving points was freshman middle Emery Duncan. Her serving was “Alkiresque” and fueled the first set win.
The second set was again hard-fought, with sophomore Caroline Cole providing some excellent shots and blocks at the middle, sophomore Sophie Shapiro providing leadership from the right side, and freshman Skyla Harris continuing to improve by leaps and bounds as an outside hitter. However, North Atlanta proved its resilience and won the second match.
So on to the third game to 15.
North Atlanta won the third game coin flip, elected to serve and won the first point. And then it happened… out of the mist of the Inman Center’s fluorescent lights emerged a figure representing Truth, Justice and Proper Serving Order—it was scorekeeper Dylan Kaminski, waving his arms furiously, trying to get the attention of the head official. The official came over to the table and, after reviewing the evidence, Kaminski was confirmed: North Atlanta had served the first serve of the third set out of order, and the point and the serve were awarded to Pace.
After that, the Pace girls never looked back, steadily building an insurmountable lead. However, during this run, Hale lunged for a ball, hit her elbow hard and was unable to get up. A hush fell over the several dozen spectators in Inman, crammed like checkerboard pieces in the stands. Ashley Roberts, the irreplaceable Pace trainer came over, and Hale was helped off the court. But, after only one point, she demanded to be put back in and played the rest of the game. Tough as nails. Pace went on to win the third set and the game, and it was a great victory earned for JV volleyball.