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Kit Carson senior Tess Johnson (left) and Eads senior Maggie Haase (right) dual at the net during Friday night’s Hi-Plains League match between the two rivals.
Mayhan Photography

Kit Carson Splits in Key Conference Contests with McClave and Eads


By Betsy Barnett

September 21, 2022

The 8-1 Kit Carson Wildcats looked exceptionally strong at home on Friday night amidst Homecoming celebrations. They took on the 6-2 Eads Eagles for Homecoming and defeated the Eagles in three straight games by scores of 25-14, 25-15, and 25-21. Both teams were missing a starter off the rotation and were battling to work through the lineup changes.

Kit Carson head coach Jasmine Jacobs indicated, “I thought our girls played well against Eads. They did especially well with adapting and adjusting to different positions/different placement on the court. The girls continue to push themselves to try new things that will benefit us in the long run.”

Kit Carson was missing their foreign exchange setter from Italy Ludovica Brida, while the Eagles lost right-side hitter and setter Ales Paez after suffering a severe sprained ankle during the week.

The game was a fun one to watch as both teams have some strong hitters on the outside and the middle, and both teams made some excellent defensive efforts in digging up attack ball after attack ball. However, the experience and above-board volleyball skills of senior Kenzie Waggoner was too much for the Eagles to contend with. The 5’10 senior used a combination of hard outside hitting with a laser-sharp tipping game to confound the Eagle defense.

Eads attacked often from all four hitting positions, but the Kit Carson defense was very strong in the back row as they only managed 23 kills in the contest with a 22.8% attack success percentage. Kit Carson only had 27 kills and their attack success percentage was just a little better at 27.8%.

The key stat, however, came in the serve receive as the Wildcats slipped in 13 successful ace serves while Eads only had one ace. That’s a major difference in an important scoring category. Eads was accurate in their serving getting 93.3% of the balls in, compared to 89% for Kit Carson. However, the strong serving game from Kit Carson with 13 aces was a huge contributor in their win.

Eads head coach Ashley Gooden stated, “To beat good teams you have to do the little things right. The first two sets we had too many mistakes and when we finally started to settle in during the third set it was too late. We will hopefully learn from this and continue building.”

Waggoner would lead all hitters with 16 kills. She also added 2 ace serves, 1 block, 13 digs and 9 assists.

Tess Johnson added 4 kills, 13 digs and 2 ace serves. Outside hitter Payge Booker-Rady also had 4 kills and 1 block.

Defensively, Torrie Randel as the libero led the Wildcats with 23 digs and 3 ace serves.

Wildcat freshman Shay Rady did a fine job of adjusting to the setter position bringing in 12 assists and 3 ace serves.

Lindsey Mayhan was all around effective with 2 ace serves, 11 digs and 2 kills.

Eads was led by two freshmen. Kara Wilson pounded down 8 kills from the middle, had one block and 10 digs. Tailee Weeks-Johnson would add 7 kills from the outside and 10 digs to the tally.

Senior outside hitter Lisi Buller pounded out 4 kills and dug up 12 balls.

Senior setter Samantha Courkamp had 18 digs and 21 assists.

The Wildcats battled through a tough 3-0 loss at McClave earlier in the week on Tuesday night. They had many great defensive saves as well as big hits and blocks at the net. This made for many long rallies between the two district teams. The teams took turns carrying the momentum of each match, but the Cardinals were able to edge out the Wildcats in 3 straight in games scores of 23-25, 19-25 and 26-28.

McClave dominated the attack with 37 kills in the contest hitting at a 38.9% success rate. Kit Carson was not as effective as the feisty McClave defense held the Wildcats to 26 kills, but a low 21.5% success rate.

The serving game help to keep Kit Carson in the contest as they had 6 ace serves although they only successfully served at an 88.1%. The Cards could muster just 3 aces but hit at a respectable 90.4% success rate.

Waggoner led all hitters with 16 kills. The senior added 1 ace serve and 15 digs to the tally.

Johnson added 4 kills from the middle, had an ace and 2 blocks.

Italian setter Ludovica Brida brought home 3 ace serves and added 19 assists and one block.

Shay Rady and Torrie Randel held down the back row with 21 and 16 digs respectively.

McClave was led by a very talented freshman in Abrielle Gomez who came through with 14 kills, 1 ace serve, 8 blocks and 26 digs.

Junior McKayla Kiniston followed with 10 kills, 1 ace, 9 blocks and 30 digs.

Senior Mariah Enciso added 5 kills, 1 ace and 3 blocks.

Sophomore MaKayla Phillips led the Card attack with 35 assists.

Freshman Ashlynn Steinbrunn had a strong defensive game with 26 digs.

On Thursday the Wildcats demolished South Baca in three straight games of 25-4, 25-5 and 25-11.

Gomez again led the way with 11 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks and 9 digs. Kiniston had 8 kills, 2 blocks, and 7 digs. Phillips added 3 aces and had 25 assists. Steinbrunn added 13 digs. Kierra Coen added 3 ace serves.

Kit Carson (9-2, 1-1) will head down south to Walsh on Friday night and then travel to the Simla Tournament on Saturday. Jacobs indicated they will see Simla, Hoehne and Soroco, three teams that should be good challenges for the Wildcats as they continue to improve.

Eads (6-3, 0-1) will travel down to South Baca on Thursday. They then have a key league game with Cheraw at home on Friday night before the football game.

McClave, however, will see Cheraw first as they meet in a conference matchup at McClave on Tuesday night. The Lady Cards will then host 2A Crowley County on Saturday.

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