Arlington setter Janessa Wakefield initiated repeated attacks from the left side of the net against Louisville on Tuesday, finding success and leading the Eagles to a 3-1 home victory.
Coach Katarina Nelson's volleyball squad won 25-19, 19-25, 25-21, 25-18 to improve to 7-5. Senior classmates Kailynn Gubbels and Chase Andersen were regular recipients of Wakefield's accurate passes.
“Kailynn and Chase are our power hitters,” the setter explained. “I just like to give them the ball. I'm really confident in them.”
But the senior Eagles weren't the only two hitters who stood out against the Lions. Both Wakefield and Gubbels spoke highly of sophomore Austyn Flesner's efforts.
“She just showed me that she was confident with the ball, and she killed it,” the setter said.
“I've just seen so much improvement with her,” Gubbels added. “Her and Janessa really connected tonight.”
Connections appeared easy to come by early for AHS. After a back-and-forth start to the first set, Eagles middle blocker Kate Miller scored a kill off of a block to give the home squad an 11-10 advantage. The attack kicked off the 15-9 stretch that followed with Gubbels, Andersen and Wakefield logging kills of their own. Taylor Arp and Wakefield served aces, too.
“I just try to do what the other team doesn't expect,” Arlington's setter said when asked what led to her kills as opposed to assists.
Gubbels, meanwhile, was effective attacking all areas on the Louisville side of the court. She credited assistant coach Stacy Dunklau-Nelson for her success.
“She's always telling us to pick different spots,” the senior said.
Gubbels mixed it up, spiking the ball hard sometimes and tapping it softly others. She also recognized an open area at the center of the floor — the donut between Lions trying to dig the ball up into the air.
“I could read that from the back row,” Gubbels said. “So, when I got to the front row, I pursued it.”
Despite their early success, the Eagles lost the second set by six. Undeterred, they took control of the third during its middle stages.
“I think we did a really good job coming back and showing that we wanted it more,” Andersen said.
Flesner notched a kill to pull AHS within 15-14 before a Gubbels attack resulted in a 16-15 lead. A second Arp ace pushed Arlington's advantage to two before Andersen eventually scored game-point on a kill that ended a long rally.
The senior stepped up again during the fourth set when Louisville pulled within 16-13 after trailing by as many as eight points. Andersen notched multiple kills before her ace put the Eagles ahead 23-18.
“I was probably just thinking, 'I need to get that energy back,'” she said.
Flesner, rewarding Wakefield for a spot-on pass, scored a kill for point No. 24 before Miller ended the match on another swing.
The victory was Arlington's second on their home floor this fall. The Eagles hosted a triangular on Thursday and will host a round robin tournament Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. The home team plays Blair first.
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