CAMANCHE — There isn’t a coach in Iowa who wouldn’t love pairing a top hitter in 2012 with a well-seasoned senior setter. That’s what Camanche coach Josh Davis has going for him this fall, and the setter-hitter combo of Kylie Vogel and Libby Schnoor was in full effect during Tuesday’s home season opener.
Schnoor (the team leader in kills last year) may be an outside hitter, but she showed her abilities to hit almost anywhere at the net. Getting her cues from Vogel, Schnoor unloaded an arsenal of swings on Prince of Peace from virtually every spot in the front row. The Indians swept the Irish 25-6, 25-8, 25-3, and the win set Schnoor on a pace to shatter her 217 kill total from last season.
“We’ve been playing together for so long that we just know what to do without even talking,” Schnoor said of her relationship with Vogel. She tallied a match-high 18 kills alongside Vogel’s 28 assists. “Our goal right now is to take our new conference by storm.”
Vogel exploited the Irish’s young blockers by sending Schnoor on inside shoot sets and even wrapping her around to the right side on a few plays. The hitter saw mostly unformed blocks or one-on-one matchups; it resulted in a number of explosive cross-court rips. Schnoor’s biggest bounce came in Set 1, when she slammed an open-netter, courtesy Vogel’s inside set, to go up 15-5. The play forced a Prince of Peace timeout.
“I really wanted to open well. The first and the last (kills) I think were my favorites,” Schnoor said.
“Starting this year off on the right foot with the experience we have is something we needed to do,” Davis said. “When (Schnoor’s) number is called, she’s going to get us points. And I thought Kylie did a good job of getting the ball to the right spots.”
The Indians opened an 8-1 lead to start the match, allowing one lone point on an error. The Irish cut the deficit to 12-5 before Camanche’s Kelsie French took the service line. The junior traded aces with Schnoor kills as the team mounted a 12-point run. The Irish sided out to bring the score to 23-6, but Schnoor shut the door with a kill on the right side, followed by an ace to take Set 1 25-6.
In Set 2, the Irish kept the score close at 7-6 behind tough serving by Erin Kuehn and Sydney Laufenberg. A service error gave Camanche the ball, and Julia Moore went on a nine-point serving streak, extending the lead to 16-6. Two points later, French continued her impressive serving with a seven-point run, and the Indians capped the score at 25-8.
The Indians coasted to the sweep after opening a 21-1 margin in the final set. Moore and French led Camanche with six aces each. Brettan Hilgendorf added five kills and Moore had three to go alongside Schnoor’s team-leading seven digs.
Although Prince of Peace opened 2013 with a loss, the Irish showed flashes that they can be a scrappy team. Libero Hunter Chapman led the team with seven digs, and middle blockers Rebecca Divarco and Laufenberg made several plays at the net to end Camanche streaks. Laufenberg, a sophomore, led Irish hitters with three kills.
“Realistically, we are a very young team,” Irish coach Lisa Gogel said. “We came out here today looking for things we can build on to make ourselves better prepared for our conference matches and otherwise as the season goes on.”
Kuehn, Chapman and Karli Atkinson are the only upperclassmen on a young roster. Gogel said she would look for “more comfort on the court” out of her group this season.
With conference realignment, Prince of Peace no longer has to contend with Camanche as it navigates the new Tri-Rivers Conference. Meanwhile, a 1-0 record for the Indians is a good way to build toward the Maquoketa Invitational on Saturday.
CAMANCHE 25-25-25, PRINCE OF PEACE 6-8-3
Kills — Camanche (Libby Schnoor 18, Brettan Hilgendorf 5, Julia Moore 3, Kylie Vogel 2), Prince of Peace (Sydney Laufenberg 3, Rebecca Divarco 1). Assists — Camanche (Vogel 28). Aces — Camanche (Kelsie French 6, Julia Moore 6).