Ravens open season at Fairfield varsity quad

Posted 8/27/21

Without enough players to scrimmage 6-on-6, it was a tough transition for Hillcrest from pre-season practice to the 3A and 4A competition at the Fairfield Varsity Quad on Thursday, August 26.

The Ravens dropped all six sets, but showed first-year coach Brandon Statler some positive things with a week to go before conference play begins. 

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Ravens open season at Fairfield varsity quad

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Without enough players to scrimmage 6-on-6, it was a tough transition for Hillcrest from pre-season practice to the 3A and 4A competition at the Fairfield Varsity Quad on Thursday, August 26.

The Ravens dropped all six sets, but showed first-year coach Brandon Statler some positive things with a week to go before conference play begins. 

“It was a lot faster game than we’ve been able to practice,” Statler said. “We’re limited in numbers and we can only do so much without this experience. 

“The girls got their eyes opened early, and it took a little bit of time to adjust, and then they finished strong.”

After dropping the first match 21-11, 21-10 to Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, the Ravens had a better first set against Albia, but lost 21-16. Albia finished off the match with a 21-11 win. 

“I thought our team defense was really good,” Statler said after the tournament “Our reads were a little bit off, not realizing what they were doing, but those are things we can fix. 

“But I thought our team defense was really strong. They fought hard, we slowed down their blockers but couldn’t quite stop them. So if we can get them stopped, instead of just slowed down, we’ll be alright.”

Hillcrest moved over to court number one for the final match of the day against tournament host Fairfield. The gym was hot and the Fairfield student section was loud as the Trojans took the first set 21-7. The Ravens bounced back and were much more competitive in the final set of the night, a 21-14 loss. 

“They’re a great group of kids and they want to win,” Statler said. “We just want to finish strong, and they did. So I’m proud of that.”

Esther Hughes led the Ravens with seven kills, while Norah Yoder, Vlada Conea, and Kylee Statler each had three on the day. Hughes had a team-high 10 blocks.

“I thought Esther Hughes played an all-around game,” Statler said. “Nora Yoder was running for her life a lot of the night, that goes with the faster serves coming at you. Our first pass was off all night and we couldn’t get adjusted to that. But I thought Norah did a good job running it down.”

Statler said that Yoder was limited by ankle injury and a hurt hand, but still finished with 18 assists for the day. Freshman Malia Yoder led the Ravens with 13 digs. 

The Ravens travel to Lone Tree on Thursday, September 2 to begin SEISC North play.

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