Kendra Williams might not have been looking for holes in the California defense, but she found them anyway.
Williams had a season-high 10 kills in the Hickman’s 25-12, 25-16 victory against the Pintos at Hickman as the Kewpies improved to 19-8-2.
“I don’t really look for holes as much as I should,” Williams said. “I just kind of hit it, and if it lands in a hole, that’s great.”
Coach Greg Gunn said Williams has stepped up her performance since he changed his team’s rotations about two weeks ago.
“Lindsey Fleming is one of our best passers so we put Kendra in the front row while Lindsey is in the back to make a conscious effort to get Kendra the ball more,” he said.
The senior duo of Williams and outside hitter Melody Mallicoat came out strong early in the first game. Trailing 1-0, Mallicoat placed a tip between three California defenders to gain control of the serve and gave the Kewpies a lead with an ace.
Williams then took control, landing three kills in the next four rallies, giving Hickman a 5-2 lead it would not relinquish.
Led by a tone-setting Williams kill to open the second game, Hickman raced out to a 9-1 lead and sailed the rest of the way.
“Early in the season we weren’t getting Kendra the ball as much as we could,” Gunn said. “She’s responded well. She’s hungry for the ball.”
Williams credits her teammates as a critical part of the team’s success.
“Our passing has been great,” she said. “We’re talking a lot and we’re covering. Not many balls hit the floor tonight.”
Williams said Gunn’s coaching has also been a key to the team’s improvement throughout the season.
“We play a lot more consistently now,” she said. “That has a lot to do with coach reminding us to stay up in every game and to play every game like it is districts.”
Although the Kewpies have one regular season game remaining before the District 8 Tournament, they have already earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.
“I think we are ready for districts,” Williams said. “The new rotation is working out great. I think we have a really good chance of winning it.”
Hickman will play the winner of the game between No. 4 seed Rock Bridge and No. 5 Fort Zumwalt West in the second round of the tournament Oct.29.