Even an exhibition game can have its dramatic moments.
Hickman’s annual Purple and Gold volleyball game saw the varsity Kewpies sweep three games from the junior varsity team, 25-15, 28-26, and 24-15 on Thursday night at Hickman.
Trailing 24-23 in the second game, the junior varsity tied the game at 24, and then proceeded to tie the game twice more before varsity finally managed to put the game away.
“It was a matter of pride,” varsity coach Greg Gunn said. “The JV feels like they’re the underdogs, they’ve got nothing to lose. They played really well.”
Varsity player Alex Ristow, a senior, said the intensity of the game increased throughout the night. “The JV was doing an awesome job,” she said. “Their defense was phenomenal. Both JV and varsity picked it up and did really well.
“I think it says something about the quality of our program that our JV is so good.”
Ristow was phenomenal. She led her team with nine kills, and her spike finished off the second game, putting an exclamation point on the varsity team’s win.
“Alex is a great hitter,” junior varsity coach Beth Newton said. “She jumps really well and she hits the ball really high in the air. She’s just one of (varsity’s) best hitters.”
Despite ITS resilience in the second game, the junior varsity was overmatched in the other two games. The first game saw the varsity squad reel off 10 straight points to win after the junior varsity team had tied the score at 15. Nine of those points came with senior Brenna Schlader serving. A block by Naomi Tesfamikael capped off the scoring. Tesfamikael had three kills on the night.
The third game was never close, with varsity jumping to a 6-1 advantage, and stretching that lead to as many as 12.
Schlader, who has orally committed to Southeast Missouri, was sharp all night long, finishing with eight kills. On 23 serves, she committed no errors.
“Brenna played really well tonight,” Gunn said. “She was really focused.”
Beth Newton said the game was not without positives for the junior varsity squad, which finished last year at 28-5.
Despite the drama in the second game, Gunn said the Purple and Gold scrimmage doesn’t compare to a game in the regular season, which opens for Hickman next Tuesday at home against Hannibal.
“It’s not near as competitive as if you’re playing another school,” he said. “When we play against Hannibal, there will probably be a little more intensity, a little more fire.”