Surging Spartans Continue Strong Start With Sweep of Vinton-Shellsburg

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

SOLON – Chemistry, confidence, connection.

It has all been better for Solon this season.

The energy, execution and effort have all ticked up too during a strong start to the season for the Spartans.

All of that improvement along with some strong serving and lots and lots of sophomore Lauren Schrock helped Class 3A ninth-ranked Solon (9-3) to a 25-16, 25-10, 25-18 sweep of Vinton-Shellsburg (7-8) in a WAMAC cross divisional match on Thursday in Solon.

“It was definitely one of our goals to take a step forward this season,” Solon senior Rachael Nelson said. “We wanted to be ranked and we’ve done that finally. It’s always been a goal of ours to take advantage of our senior year and I think we are doing that.”

Solon had 17 ace serves and Schrock had a match-high 14 kills as the Spartans won for the eighth time in its previous 10 matches on Thursday.

Schrock led four Spartans with at least four kills as Solon finished with a 39-13 edge in kills. 

“We are a family now, we all connect so easily,” Schrock said. “We know what is going on in the game and we have so much energy this year.”

Solon finished 15-21 last season following an eight-win campaign in 2016.

There has been plenty of change for the Spartans during their 9-3 start to this season, starting with confidence.

“I think we are more confident,” Solon coach Sarah Ferin said. “They are really taking ownership, every week we are working on leadership and that has been really paying off.”

Solon was confident from the outset on Thursday as it continued a wild week that started with a road sweep of rival Mount Vernon on Tuesday and included the Spartans making their season debut in the 3A rankings on Thursday.

Thursday evening the Spartans looked worthy of their new ranking.

Solon dominated from start to finish while winning its fourth consecutive match without dropping a set.

“We definitely are improving,” Schrock said. “We started the season off and it was a little rough in our first match. After that we’ve just really came together.”

Schrock had two kills early in the opening set and never let up.

The 6-foot sophomore had five kills in the opening set as Solon took control with a 25-16 win.

“It really helps build some momentum to really push us through the entire match not just the first couple of sets,” Schrock said. “It’s really exciting when you come out and can get it rolling like that.”

Behind aggressive serving and six kills from Schrock the Spartans rolled to a 25-10 in the second set.

Schrock had four of her second-set kills during an 11-0 run that put the Spartans up 18-5.

Junior Katie Yi had four ace serves in a 6-0 spurt that gave Solon a 24-6 advantage.

“We had a few too many service errors but that from serving aggressive,” Nelson said. “We were trying to beat them on serve receive.”

Solon trailed 8-5 in the third set but used a 7-1 run that featured two kills each by Yi and senior Taylor Noonan to take a 12-0 lead it would never give up.

Yi finished with nine kills out of her spot in the middle while Nelson had six kills and 6-foot senior Kate Benzing added four kills and three ace serves.  

“I would say our offense is a lot better, everyone has put in a lot of work over the offseason,” senior libero Taylor Moore said. “Obviously you can tell that our middles have worked really hard and our offense is really showing this year.”

Yi and Moore each had four ace serves to lead the Solon serving barrage and Yi had a pair of ace blocks.

“We were trying to serve aggressive but at the same time we want to get our serves in,” Moore said. “We missed a lot of serves being aggressive but that’s what we do. We are a hard-serving team.”

Solon                          25  25  25

Vinton-Shellsburg     16  10  18

Solon

(Kills-aces-blocks)

Kennedy Bombei 1-2-0, Taylor Moore 0-4-0, Kate Benzing 4-3-0, Rachael Nelson 6-0-0, Hannah Kramer 0-2-0, Lauren Schrock 14-1-0, Abby Smith 3-1-0, Taylor Noonan 2-0-0, Katie Yi 9-4-2, Team 39-17-2.

Assists – Kennedy Bombei 15, Rachael Nelson 10, Raysa Garbes 2, Taylor Noonan 1

Vinton-Shellsburg

(Kills-aces-blocks)

Frankie Evans 1-0-0, Madi Gray 3-0-0, Becca Steffen 2-0-0, Kaitlin Meyer 1-0-0, Brynn Patterson 1-0-0, Taylor Spies 2-0-1, Sonnie Evans 3-0-1, Team 13-0-2.

Assists – Becca Steffen 6, Kaitlin Meyer 1

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