The Shelby-Rising City volleyball season came to an end on Nov.29 when the Huskies lost in the second round of the sub-district playoffs to Centennial.
The Huskies came into the tournament as the 2-seed in a field of four. In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated Cross County in four sets 25-20, 21-25, 25-12 and 25 -18.
Shelby-Rising City had no time to celebrate the victory though as soon after the win the team faced off against 1-seed Centennial. S-RC was defeated in three sets in the second round losing 25-22, 25-23, 25-16.
"Being in a four-team bracket is hard," said head coach Makenzi Kuhnel in comments sent to the Banner-Press. "Having to play two games and seven sets back to back with very limited time in between is challenging."
Kamryn Pokorney led the Huskies in kills with 30 on the night and blocks with five, Jenna Nekl served a team-high four aces and dished out 55 assists, Jamie Hopwood tallied 47 digs and recorded 54 serve receptions.
"We played very aggressive against Cross County, forcing them to play defense against us," Kuhnel said. "Our attackers were very limited giving free balls. We served aggressively forcing the opponent to move and force out of system balls. Offensively, our serve receive was strong, allowing us to run a quick offense and working the opponents to move the block."
Centennial led Shelby-Rising City in kills 36-24 during the championship match.
"Against Centennial, we started very aggressive serving and attacking, however, then featured some errors," Kuhnel said. "We ran out of steam at the end of the second and third set. We fought hard, serving aggressive and receiving but defensively could’ve played at a higher level."
The Huskies finish the season with a record of 17-14.
Pokorney ends the season as the kills leader with 318 and blocks leader with 52, Nekl succeeded on 94.7 percent of her 80 serve attempts and dished out 589 assists, Hopwood recorded a team-high 513 digs.
"Our goal this season was a rebuild, challenging ourselves, and earning a winning record, which we did," Kuhnel said. "This group of girls really built on fundamentals and used those skills throughout the whole season."
Shelby-Rising City will be losing four seniors from the 2018 group: Nekl, Hopwood, Taylor Potter and Maddie O’Dell.
"We will continue to rebuild for next season, as we will be losing a couple key players but there is no doubt that we can refill those positions," Kuhnel said. "We have a good squad coming back, really excelling this season so we are extremely excited to see how much they grow and can pursue for the upcoming season.
"Working with these girls for a year as an assistant and then coming in as head coach, I had very high expectations and my group of athletes accepted them. I had so many girls really come out of their shells; owning up to leadership roles, holding each other accountable, and being drama free makes for an amazing, fun season."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net