Uni rally falls short

Uni rally falls short

URBANA – Fisher volleyball coach Lindsey Ideus learned something about her varsity team Monday: Even short-handed, the Bunnies are still competitive.

With two athletes from her regular rotation sidelined with illness or injury, other squad members found themselves in expanded roles.

Freshmen Rachel Kelley had played in only half of the varsity games before Fisher swept Uni High 25-22, 25-23 at Kenney Gymnasium. She seldom served.

Against the Illineks, Kelley landed a match-high three service aces as the Bunnies improved their record to 5-4. Last year, at season's end, the school had three wins.

Kelley's play didn't surprise her teammates.

"She is really determined and really aggressive," said Brooke Clemmons, who hammered a match-high seven kills, two more than teammate Tiffany Wallick.

Jordan Hobbs (14 assists) effectively ran the offense, Clemmons said, because of how the Bunnies defensed the Uni High attackers.

"Good passes were the key, so we got a nice setup," Clemmons said.

Defense, emphasized Ideus, will need to be a strength as the team seeks to finish above the .500 mark.

"We don't have a lot of height (the 5-foot-8 Clemmons is the tallest squad member), so passing is crucial and we have to take advantage of our defense," Ideus said.

Caitlin Arnold's three digs led Fisher and Ideus said first-year libero Kristi Morgan did "a nice job." Arnold's kill broke the final tie in Game 2, giving the Bunnies a 9-8 advantage.

Uni High coach Amanda Palla cited serving as the biggest difference in the nonconference match. Fisher had eight aces. Uni High missed eight serves. That combination accounted for nearly one-third of the Bunnies' total points.

Despite the setback, Palla was pleased by the manner in which her team stormed back in contention in Game 2. After trailing 20-12, Uni cut its deficit to 24-23 before Clemmons ended the match with a kill.

"There were times I would have seen them give up, but we came back and I'm proud of the way they played," Palla said.

Rachel Skoza and Karen Woodley each had five kills for the Illineks. Sarah Pfander had 12 digs and Ruthie Welch nine assists.

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