Big matches guide Rebels

Sports Editor

The Champlin Park volleyball team has continued to find success this season, as the Rebels’ record stands at 13-1 after earning a 22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-11 win over Maple Grove Sept. 28.

(Photo by Brian Flanary)
Champlin Park’s Sami Hilley swings through a spike during the Rebels’ 3-1 match win over Maple Grove Sept. 28.

After the Rebels lost the first set to the Crimson, head coach John Yunker told his team to continue playing the way it had been playing and the success would come.

“We just had to continue what we normally do,” Yunker said. “They caused us to commit some errors because they are a good team and were making good plays, but we knew we had to try to do what we do and make some small adjustments and calm down.

“It was an important match against a good team, so there was a lot of excitement there. Once we calmed down and took care of the ball it was a little better for us.”

While the Rebels were able to seal the match win with a 25-11 set victory, Yunker said the set was much more competitive than the score showed.

“The score doesn’t necessarily dictate what it was like, I’m sure Maple Grove would like a couple plays back from that one,” Yunker said. “Nothing major, just maybe that took the wind out of their sails, which was nice for us.

“We weren’t dominating anything, even though the score made it seem that way.”

Emma Schmidt led the Rebels by picking up 26 kills in the contest, while Ashburn led Champlin Park with 41 set assists. While the two often split reps at hitter and setter, Schmidt has been given more opportunities as a hitter in recent matches.

“As the season has gone on, Emma has gotten more sets and we changed the lineup a little bit, Izzy is now setting four rotations rather than three,” Yunker said. “Maybe Izzy didn’t get as many sets toward her, she’s nursing an ankle thing.

“Emma has been preparing herself to be our go-to hitter the last couple of years. She was prepared to come into this year and be ready for it.”

The win gave the Rebels a 6-0 record against conference opponents this season and the Rebels might have an opportunity to play Maple Grove again later this season with the Northwest Suburban Conference title on the line.

“Anytime we’re in a situation to play for a conference championship you have to feel pretty fortunate,” Yunker said. “Maybe there’s a little surprise for people outside the program and a little surprise for how fast we’ve clicked, but it’s also not a surprise, we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of depth over the last couple of years.

“A lot of these kids taking on bigger roles now were in the varsity gym getting better and playing against the group that just graduated.”

Champlin Park will play next against St. Michael-Albertville at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

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