The Roland-Story and South Central Calhoun volleyball teams were constantly seeing the number seven on Tuesday, Oct. 24. And most of the time, the players wearing those numbers were getting ready to blast the ball.
Norsemen junior MaKayla Geise and the Titans’ Hannah Seil — both dominant hitters who wear the number seven — were the biggest forces for both of their teams. Geise had 19 kills and Seil 17.
But only one could prevail, and it was Seil who came on top.
Roland-Story (28-11) fell to South Central Calhoun in four sets (23-25, 25-13, 22-25, 15-25) in the semifinals of the Class 3A regional tournament.
The Norse don’t have that much reason to hang their head. They ended the year with 28 wins — a school record, breaking the previous mark of 25 — after finishing the 2016 season with just 13.
“Besides the feeling right now, (the year) was awesome,” Roland-Story head coach Molly Geise said. “They believed in each other. There was no drama. I haven’t coached a better team of kids in my years of coaching that got along as well as they did. There was never any infighting on the court. They were all happy for each other.
“It was so fun, we didn’t want it to end. I couldn’t be prouder of them, but it stinks.”
The first set was tightly contested. Seil grabbed a block for the first point of the set, but MaKayla Geise came back with a kill two points later to give the Norse their first point.
The Titans extended their lead to 10-6, but the Norse rallied to knot the set at 10. From there, it was a back-and-forth battle, highlighted by Geise and Seil. Geise had five kills in the set, and Seil had seven.
The set was just as close as the statistics between the two outside hitters. At 23-23, South Central cleaned it up, taking the next two points and the first set.
Geise stepped it up in the second set, and the team followed suit. Geise racked up 10 kills in the set alone, and propelled the Norsemen to a lead halfway through the contest. With Geise’s help, Roland-Story took 11 of the last 13 points to get a much-needed win in the second set to tie the match.
The Norse came out of the gate in the third set with a slight advantage, holding a narrow lead throughout the first half of the set. The Titans clawed their way back to a 16-13 lead, thanks to some extra focus on Geise, who had only two kills in the set.
Seil finished it off for South Central, blasting four kills in her team’s final seven points, as the Titans took seven of the final nine points of the set to pull 2-1 ahead in the match.
Roland-Story got off to a promising start in the fourth set. Geise had two kills in her team’s first three points, but the Titans rallied and took six-straight points to open an 8-3 lead.
South Central continued to dominate, jumping out to a 17-8 lead it wouldn’t relinquish, ending the Norse’s season in the process.
Jenna Clark had 29 assists, two kills, six digs, a block and was 17 of 17 in serves. Along with her multitude of kills, MaKayla Geise had five digs, four blocks and was eight of nine in serves. Juliann Clark had five kills, five digs and was 18 of 19 in serves, including two aces.
Madison Friest had seven kills, one dig and three blocks. Rylie Goeders had two kills and three blocks. Taryn Johnston had four digs and was 10 of 11 in serves, including two aces. Hailey Louw had eight digs and was 14 of 14 in serves. Amy Rathmacher had four blocks, one kill and was 15 of 15 in serves, with one ace.