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Coyotes dominate Creek Valley in four sets

 


Taylor Juelfs may be sidelined, but the Potter-Dix senior still played a critical role on Thursday night.

As the Coyotes huddled following a first set 25-20 loss to Creek Valley, Juelfs leaned into the circle and asked a simple question: “where’s your fire?”

Her words rekindled Potter-Dix’s spirit, as they swept the remaining sets in convincing style, 25-13, 25-14 and 25-12.

“We play for Tay,” said Ryley Hicks.

With Juelfs and her 6.9 assists per set recovering from surgery earlier in the week, the Coyotes offense figured to sputter. In the first set Creek Valley jumped out to an 8-4 advantage, led by Summer Mueller’s attacks from the wing and some clever play by Shania Brown.

Potter-Dix closed to within two for a stretch.  Ryley Hicks fed the potent arm of Regyn Hicks to make it 11-9.

But the Storm began to pull away. Mueller deposited a Brown lay up into an open midcourt space. She then directed a lob past puzzled Coyotes defenders.

Potter-Dix has been strong of late, however, and they began clawing their way back. When Ryley Hicks lofted one for Kinley Vowers to finish, it narrowed the gap to 18-15.

From there, a brief dogfight ensued.  The Storm looked beaten twice in one long volley before Hannah Schievelbein finally secured the point.  Hicks teed up impressive freshman Alexus Rozelle, who powered the ball past Creek Valley’s Jerry Straber.

At 22-20, the Storm asserted themselves again. Stefanie Mitchell smashed home a set from Brown. Straber then popped a returned shot to Brown, who issued another set. This time Mueller tapped it over the Coyotes front line. On match point, Mueller sizzled one down the line to wrap things up at 25-20.

No one was prepared for what followed, except for Potter-Dix and their junior varsity setter and freshmen starters Rozelle and Dawson Sharman.

Rozelle ended the night with 13 kills. Sharman led the team with 18 digs from the back line.

As Coyotes head coach Kristi Jung warned, “our freshmen don’t play like freshmen. They are fearless.”

It showed from the start of set two. Potter-Dix jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead. Creek Valley’s Brown and Mitchell combined to regain service for the home side. But blows by Morgan Wolff—set up by Ryley Hicks one time and Vowers another—reestablished a wide 10-2 margin.

The Hicks sisters teamed up to extend the lead to 13-4. Ryley Hicks then set up Rozelle, pushing the score to 15-6.

Ryley Hicks received the nod to fill in for Juelfs, and began to find her stride as Potter-Dix claimed an easy 25-13 win in the second.

“There’s no doubt it’s different,” coach Jung said of the difference between the role in JV and varsity. “There’s a different tempo, different style. She’s done a nice job.”

Hicks recorded 31 assists, not only leading the team, but besting Creek Valley's combined work by 22.

In set three, Rozelle took over, winning several battles at the net and converting five Hicks sets into Potter-Dix points on the way to a 25-14 victory for the visitors.

“We were there for each other,” Rozelle explained, giving credit to Hicks. “She’s a great setter.”

For Creek Valley, the evening continued to unravel. Rozelle took the service line to start the final round and reeled off a 7-0 run. Potter-Dix then held the Storm at arm’s length on their way to a 25-12 clincher. Yet the Storm battled throughout, charging after balls, extending the Coyotes during several lengthy volleys—but to no avail.

“You can’t give up,” Brown said. “But in a long volley, after you lose you lose some momentum.”

Potter-Dix won at the net and the back line. As a team, the Coyotes combined for 41 kills, compared to 15 for Creek Valley. And Sharman, Ryley Hicks, Vowers and Wolff shared dig out duties, each chipping in with 14 or more.

The Storm's Jerry Straber shouldered the burden for the home side, ending up with 32 digs.

Illness slowed some of Creek Valley’s key players. But there were few words to describe the lopsided outcome afterward.

“We just didn’t have it tonight,” Mueller said. “There’s not much to say.”

 

PD 20 25 25 25

CV 25 13 14 12

 

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