AMORY – The Regents Lady Lions are starting to play their best volleyball of the season at just the right time.
Regents defeated Amory Christian in a battle of Lady Lion teams 3-0 (25-10, 25-22, 25-23) at the Amory Christian Academy Gym Thursday night. For Regents coach Kacie Hengler, it was the best performance she has seen from her setter Maddie Niemeyer along with sister and outside hitter Lauren Niemeyer and middle blocker Jamya Fondren. The latter two each finished the night with a match-high 11 kills. It is one of the few times all season Regents has had at least two players with double-digit kills in a match.
“It felt like 11 kills,” Hengler said about Lauren Niemeyer’s and Fondren’s offensive production. “They did really well. Lauren is really improving on her line shot especially. It was very impressive tonight. A lot of it is our setter is becoming more consistent. She’s getting them on the net, they’re able to get better swings on the ball.
“Tonight was one of (Fondren’s) best games,” Hengler said of her middle-blocker. “A lot of that again is due to better setting tonight. It’s been hit-or-miss. Her blocking is super consistent. She’s always a solid blocker at the net. It’s just the timing and getting that down. Tonight I felt like for the first time she really clicked.”
Regents (14-19 overall) opened with an easy 25-10 set one win over Amory Christian, facing very little resistance from the home-standing Lady Lions. In the second set, Amory Christian retaliated with better play as they took a small lead for the majority of the second set. It is something Hengler knows that has to be better in a mental state after playing well in the first set that has happened over the last couple weeks, but also took some blame herself for changing the lineup between sets.
“That’s something we struggle with as a team,” Hengler said. “The other day when we played, we came out just as strong in the first set, and then we lost the second set. Then we won the next two. That’s something they’re trying to learn as a young team is to mentally stay in the game the whole time. They have great energy in the first set and then they start making a couple mistakes in the second set. We just didn’t make very many mistakes in the first set, and they need to know they can have that kind of confidence the whole time. I did change the lineup in the second set so that’s going to throw them off a little bit. I trust though that they can do it and they did.”
Regents was able to rally from being down 20-18 late in the second set with a 7-2 run to win the set 25-22 and go up 2-0 in the match. The third set saw the lead shift a few times. After Regents started off with a 8-4 lead, Amory Christian countered with a 7-0 run to take an 11-8 lead. A few points later, Regents would counter with a 5-0 run of their own to retake a 15-13 lead in the third set. After Amory Christian was able to tie the set at 16-16, Regents went on a 6-0 run to take a 22-16 lead, only to be countered with a 5-0 run by Amory Christian to close the gap to 22-21, but Regents was able to make a few plays to thwart a comeback bid in the end to take the match 25-23.
In addition to her 11 kills, Lauren Niemeyer added a match-high seven aces and three digs for Regents. Defensively, Regents were led by Lora Leigh Bray with six digs, three aces, and added two kills who normally leads the team offensively. Maddie Niemeyer also added six digs defensively to go along with six aces. Regents totaled 21 aces on the night. Faith Keeton led Amory Christian with an all-around game of four kills, five digs, and a team-high four aces. Allison Underwood led them defensively with six digs and a match-high two blocks.
Regents returns to action on Monday taking a small trip across town to Lafayette. JV starts at 5 p.m. while varsity begins at 6 p.m.