Lady Tigers, Lady Eagles serve up season

VOLLEYBALL 2017


Rockdale’s Kaylee Criswell defends the net against Milano’s Emilie Compton in the 2017 season opener for both schools Tuesday night. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Rockdale’s Kaylee Criswell defends the net against Milano’s Emilie Compton in the 2017 season opener for both schools Tuesday night. Reporter/Cliff Dungan In their annual season opener with neighbor Milano, Rockdale hasn’t been able to solve the perennial power Lady Eagles in the past, so this was was special.

The Lady Tigers outlasted the Lady Eagles 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 25-21 in the 2017 season opener Tuesday evening at Tiger Gymnasium in a back-and-forth battle.

Hanna Jimenez sparked the Rockdale attack at the net with an impressive 17 kills, 12 digs and four service aces.

Reese Weise and Emma Pickett kept the ball moving with 15 assists apiece and Reyna Gonzalez worked for 12 digs and posted three service aces.

Kaylee Criswell turned in nine kills and three blocks.

“I think for five days of practice and two as a team, that we looked pretty good,” said Rockdale coach Jennifer Keen. “We are moving better and playing better as a team this year. However, my girls have a goal for the season and they know, and I know, that we have things to improve and work on by the time we get to district.

“These girls are great competitors though and I believe they will put in the work to do what needs to be done by the time district roles around.”

Kalie Poehl paced Milano with 10 kills, 10 digs and two blocks.

Kali Taylor provided 18 assists and three aces, while Danni Shaw chipped in 12 digs and a kill, Sterling Robertson 16 digs, 13 kills and three blocks, Emilie Compton seven assists, five digs and an ace and Abby Miller six digs and one kill.

“I always want to win every match but right now, we are more focused on things we can control and I was comfortable with how we played,” said Wendy King, who begins her 24th season at Milano. “We are going to prioritize maximizing our potential this season based on what we can do and I believe the girls tried very hard to do that.”

Keen begins her fourth season at the helm and the Lady Tigers were 18-23 last season and fifth in district play—their best league showing since 2003.

The 18 victories is the most by a Rockdale squad since the 2013 season, the Lady Tigers’ last playoff appearance.

Rockdale lost four seniors from last season’s team and returns veteran- Jimenez, Eve King, Stephani Pantaleon, Gonzalez, Pickett and Criswell.

The unranked Lady Eagles are coming off a 35-9 district championship season in which they reached the regional semifinals.

In her 23 previous seasons, King has accumulated 543 wins including 14 district crowns and 17 straight playoff trips.

Milano is in rebuild mold after losing three All- State performers.


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