HINCKLEY – Hinckley-Big Rock coach Joanne Weirich knew just from her timeouts that the Royals would be able to build off Tuesday’s nonconference match against Kaneland.
The Knights were an obvious class above H-BR, which is still adjusting to a first-year coach and a new setter early in the season. But Weirich wanted her team to take in everything that came with Tuesday’s 25-13, 25-11 loss to Kaneland.
“It was fantastic to play them tonight,” Weirich said. “In the timeouts, the girls were commenting ‘I’m getting faked out of my socks by the setter.’ I told them this is a good team, learn.”
The Royals (4-6) held their own defensively, consistently extending rallies and getting a number of key digs from junior libero Jaime Beitel. Weirich said the Royals have made big strides in their defense.
“We don’t have the power that we had last year so we were working on defense,” Weirich said. “It showed tonight, playing against a team that is so quick and so big compared to us. I thought we did well, digging the ball up and coming away with 13 points.”
The Royals struggled to get much going offensively and are still trying to find players to fill in after graduating all-area players Kaitlin Phillips and Katie Hollis last year.
Their passing wasn’t always crisp as the Royals continue to adjust to a new setter, sophomore Anne Klein. Klein, the younger sister of senior Beth Klein, is still learning the intricacies of the position, but Weirich likes that she has the ability to dump balls in the back corner and didn’t hesitate making Klein the starting setter at the start of the year.
“[Anne’s] good. She’s a sophomore so she’s still getting used to it, but she’ll catch on,” H-BR junior Lauren Paver said. “Just getting into the groove of things.”
Kaneland settled down after several hitting errors early in the first game. The Knights won seven of the last 10 points and outside hitter Lyndi Scholl spiked a ball down the line to take the first game.
The Knights continued their dominance early in game two with Scholl recording three consecutive kills to give Kaneland an early 4-1 advantage. Scholl would finish with four kills on the night while outside hitter Elize Dunn led the Knights with 11 kills. Lauren Banbury chipped in with six kills.
Kaneland (5-2) opens its conference season next Tuesday against Morris.
“We need to get ready for conference next week,” Kaneland coach Todd Weimer said. “We’re trying to take these last couple games to get ourselves really ready and prepared for the season.”