Greenville ready for Rockford volleyball challenge

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:30 am on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Greenville’s Quinn Heyboer, left, and Kylee Moody get ready to return a serve during a match this season. The Yellow Jackets host Rockford tonight in the district semifinal.

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets volleyball team isn’t ready for its season to come to an end tonight.

To continue their season, the Yellow Jackets (34-11-5) will have to defeat the defending Class A state champion Rockford Rams. This time the Yellow Jackets try for the win at home.

This will be the first meeting between the two programs since last year’s district final at Rockford. The Rams knocked the Yellow Jackets out of the tournament with a 3-0 win.

Greenville senior Rosalyn Wyse said a win would be great for the program.

“We want to beat them really bad. This is the year,” Greenville senior Rosalyn Wyse said. “We have to give it our all. They were the state champs last year. It would be a really great breakthrough to beat them.”

Rockford is coming off a straight set win (25-17, 25-22, 25-20) over the Northview Wildcats on Monday to advance to tonight’s district final.

Greenville had a first round bye and the chance to scout the Rams on Monday.

“We have to play smart and watch the holes so we can place the ball on their side of the court,” Greenville coach Amy Rupno said. “We have to learn from what we saw on Monday and put it together.”

Wyse said the Yellow Jackets need to do a few things well to win the match.

“We have to go for every ball and leave our hearts on the floor,” Wyse said. “We have to block well, since they have some powerful hitters. We also have to know where our open spots on the court are.”

Madye Johnson and Shannow Winicki combined for 18 kills against the Wildcats. Abby Carlson helped with 30 assists.

Megan O’Brien makes a set for either Audrey Wyse (11) or Rosalyn Wyse (1) during a match this season.

Rupno said the Rams are a similar team from last year, but a couple of key roles have been reversed.

“Last year they had a great setter and one great hitter,” Rupno said. “This year they have a couple of good hitters and a setter. The hitters work off whatever they get. It’s reverse from last year, it’s not the strong set, but the big hits.”

Another key for Greenville will be to get the offense going with their serve-receive.

“We really have to nail that. They have some strong servers, including a float server,” Rupno said. “We can’t have balls dropped when we have the opportunity to run an offense.”

Playing at home should give the Yellow Jackets an energy boost. Energy is something that the Yellow Jackets lose from time to time.

“We’ve talked about that. You never know what you’re going to get,” Rupno said. “This is the match they have been waiting for all year. We always play Rockford really well, but we feed off their intensity too. I think we will be fine.”

Wyse said the team is confident.

“We are confident. I think it will be a really good game,” Wyse said. “I’m hoping for the best and a win on our home floor. Being home will help us a lot with our fans here.”

Forest Hills Northern will face Forest Hills Central (defeated Lowell on Monday) at 5:30 p.m. The Yellow Jackets and Rams will follow.

The District 7 final will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at Greenville.

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