Girls’ varsity volleyball buries Piedmont with three-set victory

Amanda Morse

Building off of their 5-0 winning streak, Redwood girls’ varsity volleyball started out strong in the first set of their game on Sept. 4 with a 9-1 lead against Piedmont High School. With hard hits from both senior right side Ella Spaethling and sophomore outside hitter Ella Green, the Giants pushed their lead for the rest of the set, ending in a win of 25-16. They continued this steady tempo throughout the rest of the match, with digs all around the court from senior libero Taylor Leslie and hits from middle blockers junior Elsa Kemp and freshman Brooke Leslie. The Giants won their next two sets 22-15 and 25-18, capping off yet another victory.

“The team played really well tonight. We kept our composure and it was really cool because we got to run some new things that we normally don’t get to run,” senior Taylor Leslie said.

Their strong control of each set allowed the Giants to work on more skills that may not have been practiced if it had been a closer game. According to Kemp, the team wanted to build off of their successful communication in the first set and look to maintain focus throughout the game.

“The energy definitely dwindled by the end, but the first set we came out really strong. I could tell we all felt pretty confident against this team and we got the job done,” Kemp said.

Junior Noe Corren returns the ball
Junior Noe Corren returns the ball.

According to coach Ursula Kunhardt, the Giants focused on their serve receives during the practices prior to this game, as they knew tough serving was one of Piedmont’s strengths. Their ability to sideout, control the ball quickly off each serve and execute on the defensive end allowed them to secure a comfortable lead in all three sets, permitting playing time for all players.

“We were fortunate enough to let everybody see the court which was really nice. I love to have as many opportunities to get everybody on the court as I can,” Kunhardt said.

Having played at Redwood for four years on varsity and Division I volleyball at Montana State, Kunhardt knows the game well. She also coaches for Absolute, a more competitive club volleyball program, which is run by her high school volleyball coach Katie Pease. Kunhardt has brought a fresh perspective to this team with her in depth knowledge of the sport.

Standing at the net, the Giants prepare to return a serve.
Standing at the net, the Giants prepare to return a serve.

Coming off of a rockier season last year, Kunhardt wants to ensure that her team is loving the game. To her, this has always been a major focus and with this will come success.

“I want the girls to get super fired up about every game, every point, everything, because I feel like last season they didn’t have a lot to be excited about ” Kunhardt said.

At the start of their season, the Giants faced tough opponents such as Branson but victories against these teams put them high in the MCAL standings. Their overall 6-0 undefeated record puts the Giants right alongside both MC and Drake who are also undefeated.

On Wednesday Sept. 5, the Giants will face the Drake Pirates in an away game where they will attempt to solidify their winning record.