Morley Stanwood volleyball beats Hesperia in four sets

VICTORY: Brooke Huested and Mallory Raven converge on the ball Thursday against Hesperia. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

VICTORY: Brooke Huested and Mallory Raven converge on the ball Thursday against Hesperia. (Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

MORLEY — Morley Stanwood volleyball coach Robin Kozuch has leaned on her team’s veteran presence on the court so far this season.

That leadership showed Wednesday in the Mohawks’ 3-1 victory over visiting Hesperia (25-12, 25-11, 20-25, 25-11) in a Central State Activities Association matchup.

“We have kids who have been playing a lot of ball,” Kozuch said. “I think they demand a lot of themselves and they have something to prove. We lost three kids last year who earned state accolades, so the team wants to show they can repeat last year’s success again this year.”

After Morley Stanwood (14-4-1, 2-0 CSAA) won the first two sets, the Panthers went point-for-point with the Mohawks in the third, highlighted by five straight points to close it out.

“I wanted to get a lot of kids playing time tonight, which was my goal,” Kozuch said. “We played really well the first two sets, so I put some different kids on the court, which can make for a different feel. I think that affected us a little bit, but the kids who went in still played really well. It just made the chemistry a little different.”

The Mohawks bounced back in the fourth, going on a 10-2 run midway through the set, including six straight points capped by a kill from junior Raven Hoskins.

“We knew we beat ourselves in the third set, but we moved on and just did what we needed to do,” senior Mallory Raven said. “We lost talent last year, and we lost a lot of height, but we still have good coordination on the court and we work on communicating. We also are athletic, we hustle for balls and get balls that most teams don’t.”

Senior Demi Kuzee finished with nine kills and two blocks, while senior Cayla Patterson had seven kills, three aces and four blocks. Senior Destiny Kuzee finished with a team-high 26 assists and 11 digs, while senior Rachel McNeil had a team-high 19 digs. Junior Madi Kruger had 12 digs, junior Brooklyn Peacock had four aces and senior Shannon Thompson added six kills and 11 digs.

Kozuch said she likes what she sees on the court so far, but added there are things to work on.

“I think this has to be a defensive team,” Kozuch said of the Mohawks. “We are very defensive-minded. We’re very scrappy, which is great. So we just need to minimize our errors, put the ball where they are not and be a smart team.”

The Mohawks host Lakeview on Wednesday.

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