It has been a couple years since Fillmore Central volleyball was the Three Rivers heavyweight. In 2013 and 2014, the Falcons won back-to-back undefeated league titles on the way to back-to-back section title games. After a two year lull of still-good-but-not-the-best, FC is tiptoeing toward (hoping for) the later. Travis Malley’s Falcons won two more league matches to move to 8-0 in the TRC. La Crescent was an easy 3-0 fell (25-10, 25-10, 25-9). The Falcons have what few in the TRC have; balanced hitting. Kaelyn Marzolf (12 kills, 4 aces), Cailey Rindels (10 kills, 15 digs), and Paige Donlinger (8 kills, 11 digs, 5 aces) did their normal work up front, the latter two playing all the way around. Madison Scheevel tallied 36 assists. FC then took on resurgent Kingsland, a battle of the TRC co-leading team (FC) and the TRC’s leading hitter (Lauren Buchholtz). It proved one of the best TRC matches this year. Game one had the Knights up early (14-9), but a three ace, seven-point Donlinger serving session, flipped the score (17-14). FC held for the 25-20 win. Game two was tied eight times before FC went ahead 20-17. The lead was 22-19 when Kingsland sandwiched two Buchholtz kills around four FC errors. The 6-1 run gave the Knights a 25-23 win. Buchholtz had six kills in the set. Game three was controlled by FC. Cailey Rindels had six kills, including one that staved off Kingsland’s closest late nearing (17-16). FC prevailed 25-18. Game four was about Knight senior Kori Kruegel. Five of her six kills came after Kingsland trailed 16-15. Three came in succession and put team double-K up 23-19. They closed for a 25-20 win, sending the match to five games. There, the springy 5’3” Donlinger, FC’s newest offensive weapon, scored four kills in five total points, propelling the Falcons ahead 10-5. Kingsland went to Buchholtz time and again, but FC sent two and three blockers. A Scheevel/Rindels double-denial sealed the deal. FC stayed perfect in league play with a 3-2 win over the Knights (25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-9). Three hitters ruled over two. Donlinger (17 kills, 19 digs, 7 aces) led the way. After 24 kills the first four TRC games, Paige has 49 the last four. Marzolf (16 kills, 3 aces) and Rindels (13 kills, 24 digs) also reached double-digit spikes. Rindels has posted a kills/digs double-double, Marzolf double-digit kills, in seven of eight TRC matches. Scheevel had a career-high in helpers (45 assists, 11 digs). K.J. Corson (12 digs) and Katrina Bergey (10 digs) helped with an FC defense that tallied 94 digs. Buchholtz (16 kills, 14 digs) and Kruegel (14 kills, 9 digs) gave the Knights two with double-digit spikes. Nora Jahn added eight with 3 ½ blocks. Ellie Buchholtz had 34 assists. Taylor Zimmerman (17 digs) led the Knights defense. It’s the second straight game Kingsland, once a volleyball underling, has tested a top dog. The Knights (3-4, 10-11), in their first year under Sam Hanley, fell to TRC unbeaten #7 in Class A Caledonia in five sets two days later. It was the fifth four-plus set match for the Knights. Only FC held Buchholtz under 20 kills. Three of Kingsland’s four league losses have been in five games (to teams with two total league losses). The Knights are a blossoming force. FC (8-0, 13-4) and #7 in A Caledonia (8-0, 14-4) lead the TRC over PEM (5-2, 6-2) and St. Charles (5-2, 8-5). They meet in the TRC season finale October 12.
About Paul Trende