Peel impressive despite Hickman volleyball team's loss

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | 9:37 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Jumping high and using her fingertips to block, she sends the ball to the floor for Hickman's first point of the match.

And she didn't stop there.

With 11 attacks, four kills and three blocks on the night, senior middle hitter Emily Peel added consistency for the Kewpies' volleyball team in its 25-18, 25-15 loss to Troy Buchanan on Tuesday.

"I love being aggressive at the net," Peel said of her role as middle hitter.

It seemed that every time the ball was crossing the plane of the net, Peel had reached her hands high with fingers outstretched to try and stop the ball. Even when Troy's setter would place the ball on the far side of the net, Peel would jump and reach to complete the block.

With the ball pounding off her right hand, Peel was able to stop an exceptionally hard-hit attack from Troy Buchanan. The crowd burst with applause and cheers after she completed the play.

"Emily is our go-to person on the team," Hickman coach Greg Gunn said. "She has a great ability to put the ball away."

Peel didn't seem phased by the ups and downs of the game. Before every serve from Troy, she had the same look of determination and concentration in her eyes. Perfectly still, with her hands on her knees, she prepared herself for the next play.

During some particularly scrappy back and forth play, Peel was vigilant at the net blocking or tipping nearly every ball.

With a solid jump serve that is rare to see in high school gymnasiums, Peel tossed the ball up, completed an approach, and sent the ball rocketing over the net. She perfected her jump serve last year with the Columbia Volleyball Club and now uses it as another weapon for the Kewpies.

"Sometimes we put a lot on her shoulders," Gunn said of the team's reliance on Peel.

With her solid play at the net, it looks like she will remain an important asset for the Kewpies throughout the rest of the season.

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