Sandwiched in between dates against South Central Conference powers, the Hillsboro High School volleyball team picked up a hard earned victory over Vandalia in their home opener on March 18.
After falling to Roxana in their season opener on March 16, the Toppers knocked off the Vandals in two games, 25-20, 25-23.
Both games were as close as the final scores would indicate, with back and forth rallies keeping anyone from pulling too far ahead.
In game one, Vandalia went on their biggest run of the game to open up a 15-12 lead, but Coach Emily Zimmerman called a time out and Hillsboro regrouped to break serve.
With Reagan DeVasier serving for Hillsboro, the Toppers put together a run of their own, getting seven straight points to take a 20-15 lead they would never relinquish.
Game two would take a similar tone, although Hilsboro was forced to come from behind for much of the game. Down 17-14, the Toppers once again rallied back, scoring six straight points to take their first lead since the score was 4-1 in the early going.
Vandalia wouldn’t go away quietly though, as they rallied to make it 20-19 and 24-23 before Hillsboro got the game winner.
DeVaisher’s serving would be one of the highlights of the night as she finished with seven points and two aces. Layne Rupert and Ally Devore added five points each, while Alayna McCario chipped in four.
On the attack, Hillsboro mixed things up, hammering down some kills while placing others in the gaps in the Vandalia defense. Kaci Papin led the team with eight kills, followed by Haley Major with five and Rupert and DeVaisher with four each. Jordan Jacobs and DeVaisher formed a two-prong attack at setter, serving up 12 assists each.
Defensively, Coach Zimmerman said her team improved after the loss to Roxana, with the back row reading the hitters better. Rupert, who played on the freshman team last year, but skipped right up to varsity this season, and Devore led the team in digs with 19 and 18, while Major joined them in double digit digs with 15. Closer to the net, Emma Miller and Kaci Papin patrolled the area and blocked two hits each, with McCario also putting one down.
The Hiltoppers looked to feed off that win the following night, when they faced Staunton, one of this year’s favorites for the South Central Conference crown. Hillsboro led early, but the Bulldogs showed their status as the ones to beat is earned as they came back for wins of 25-16 and 25-23.
Layne Rupert and Ally Devore again proved fierce in the back row, digging up 14 and 12 apiece against the Staunton hitters.
Kaci Papin also held her own at the net, blocking four hits, with Reagan DeVaisher and Rupert also combining for three blocks.
On the attack, Papin, Rupert and Haley Major all had five kills apiece, with Jordan Jacobs (10) and DeVaisher (eight) leading the setting duties.
Alayna McCario and Rupert served up five points each, while DeVaisher added four. Rupert also led the team in aces with two.
With a one-month season, salty South Central Conference foes lurk behind virtually every corner and week two of the season is no different. On Monday, March 22, Hillsboro takes on Greenville on the Comets’ home floor, followed by a visit to Miner Country on Thursday, March 25, as Hillsboro takes on Gillespie.
March 18 at Hillsboro
Vandalia 20 23
Hillsboro 25 25
Service Points: Reagan DeVaisher 7, Layne Rupert 5, Ally Devore 5, Alayna McCario 4, Jordan Jacobs 3, Haley Major 3. Aces: Reagan DeVaisher 2, Layne Rupert 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 8, Haley Major 5, Layne Rupert 4, Reagan DeVaisher 4, Emma Miller 2, Ally Devore 1, Alayna McCario 1. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 12, Reagan DeVaisher 12. Digs: Layne Rupert 19, Ally Devore 18, Haley Major 15, Reagan DeVaisher 5, Alayna McCario 5, Jordan Jacobs 4, Kaci Papin 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 2, Emma Miller 2, Alayna McCario 1.
March 19 at Hillsboro
Staunton 25 25
Hillsboro 16 23
Service Points: Layne Rupert 5, Alayna McCario 5, Reagan DeVaisher 4, Ally Devore 3, Jordan Jacobs 2. Aces: Layne Rupert 2. Kills: Kaci Papin 5, Layne Rupert 5, Haley Major 5, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Emma Miller 1. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 10, Reagan DeVaisher 8. Digs: Layne Rupert 14, Ally Devore 12, Haley Major 6, Jordan Jacobs 3, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Alayna McCario 2, Emma Miller 1. Blocks: Kaci Papin 4, Reagan DeVaisher 2, Layne Rupert 1.
Record: Hillsboro (1-2); Staunton (3-0).