SPRING VALLEY — The Bureau Valley Storm really put the heat on the Hall Lady Devils Tuesday in a stifling hot Red Devil Gymnasium.
The Storm dominated both sets, posting 25-15, 25-16 wins on the board. They had a 9-1 string in the first set and an 8-2 run in the second to put both sets away.
“I thought (the heat) was going to be rough, but we did great in it. I was incredibly surprised,” said BV junior hitter Lindsey Hoffert, who led the Storm attack with five kills and added seven points.
It was sure a much better feeling walking off the court for the Storm after last year’s opening week loss at Princeton.
“A lot of good things happened,” second-year BV coach Abbi Bosnich said. “We practiced really hard, we’ve come out really strong. We worked on having fun, everyone being a part of the team no matter what your role is and I’m so proud of the girls tonight the way they came out.
“I think back to our last game (with Hall) last year in my first season as a head coach and the way we played tonight was totally different.”
Megan Nation, the fourth coach in as many years at Hall, taking over a team which went 5-25 a year ago, said her team made progress Tuesday and is just a few tweaks here and there from putting things together.
“It’s kind of what I actually expected of them,” said Nation. “They came in nervous; they were playing nervous. We’ve done this a thousand times, but Bureau Valley’s a good team. They’ve got good hitters. I think we’re going to do better this season. A lot of our errors tonight were jut error we can control. It was hitting into the block hitting out of bounds and hitting into the net, so if we can clean that up a little bit I think we’ll be fine.”
Nation said her girls a much better job than they did over the summer hanging in there when Bureau Valley got on their runs.
Hall led the first set early 5-2, but it didn’t last long. The Storm scored six straight points than used a seven-point string to take a 16-8 lead. Hits by Ellen Herrmann and Clarissa Gerard helped pull the Lady Devils within 18-12. A Hall hitting error, a Carlie Bickett kill and a Hall rotation error boosted the Storm’s lead back to 21-12.
The Storm stayed hot to start the second set, seizing a 15-4 lead. The Storm stretched their lead to 19-8. Hall sided out and Vanessa Olivares strung three points together, capped by an ace to bring the Lady Devils within 19-13. A couple hits by Hoffert along with two service receive and two hitting errors by Hall brought BV to a 25-16 win.
Bosnich said the Storm and libero Shannon Reuter showed much improved with their communication and their work on jump serving really showed Tuesday.
“Sydney Lebahn and Lindsey Hoffert have worked hard this summer on their jump serves and make that powerful and I thought they did a great job on that tonight,” Bosnich said. “I don’t know how many service errors we had, but I don’t think it was many. I’m very proud, because in practice they’re kind of on their own on that. I told them it says a lot about you as players that you’re willing to take that incentive to work on it.”
Having some, tall, heavy hitters, helps, too, she said.
“We’re very blessed with a lot of tall girls,” Bosnich said. “Lindsey just took care of the ball. Last year as a sophomore she struggled as a sophomore in the back row and didn’t get to play a lot. And that confidence she brought this year was great.”
“We’re lucky to have a such tall girls and with that we can get a lot of power,” Hoffert said. “We’ve been working on our approaches and getting on top of the ball and getting around the blocks. Our back row helps a lot, telling us where to hit and where to place it.
“We’ve been practicing hard all summer, working together and tonight it really showed. I’m so proud of everyone.”
• Notes: Shannon Reuter led BV with eight points and two aces with Hoffert adding seven points and Lebahn five points. Val Reuter and Bickett had three kills each. Clarissa Gerrard led Hall with fives with Olivares posting four aces. …. Nation, a standout at LaSalle-Peru who previously was head coach at Aurora University, said it was great to be back in the high school ranks. “I love it, I was so excited coming into this. I’m looking forward to this season and I’m having a blast,” she said. … Bureau Valley won the sophomore match 25-22, 25-10 while Hall took the freshmen match 11-25, 25-18, 16-14.