By Oscar Rzodkiewicz
Charleston’s Katarina Blase recorded one of her 10 kills of the night down the line against Lincoln before rattling off four straight service aces to bolster the Trojans’ lead to 21-10 in the second set en route to a 25-19, 25-13 victory Thursday night at Baker gym.
Earlier in the second set with Charleston (20-7, 8-3 Apollo) leading 11-8, Blase sparked a four-point run with two back-to-back kills, and the Railsplitters (4-23, 1-10 Apollo) never got back within three points for the rest of the set.
Although Blase proved to be a key scoring piece in the latter portion of the second set, she said it was a collective effort.
“I’m not the only one that contributes to the team,” Blase said. “Everyone has their own positions that helps me be where I am right now.”
Kaleigh Wilson provided three kills in the second set and eight total in the match for Charleston, and Trojans coach Steve Pamperin attested to the level of play that Wilson and Blase bring as a combination.
“What’s nice about them is we run a lot of offense through them, and when they’re on, they’re a handful,” Pamperin said. “Abby (Kallis) does a really nice job, our setter, as far as getting her the ball, and our defense sort of allows them to have those opportunities.”
Lincoln failed to return seven Charleston serves, including the match point.
“We just struggled. I mean, our bench was so hyped, and we just weren’t talking as much as they were,” Lincoln coach Danielle Hauch said, “and we were just miscommunicating a lot.”
The second set began on a 4-2 Lincoln run after two mishits by Blase and Wilson, respectively, and Hauch felt that the Railsplitters built some confidence after the first set.
“I think because we started fighting back in that first set, they realized ‘Oh, we can do it,” Hauch said. “ ‘We can play with them. We can compete.’ ”
With the score at 20-18 in set one, a missed dig by the Railsplitters led to two kills from Blase during a 5-1 Charleston run to end the set, 25-19.
Lincoln trailed 19-13 in set one before a Trojan service error, a net violation, and a dump by Abi Steffens got the Railsplitters back to within three points.
Lincoln played catch-up from the first serve as Charleston began the match on a 10-2 run that included five combined kills from Blase and Wilson.
“The biggest thing that we continue to work and continue to grow is ball control and taking care of our side of the court,” Pamperin said. “You know, it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side. If we play our brand of volleyball, then we can be competitive with anybody.
The Trojans next play Saturday against Shepard at 10 a.m. in the Bradley Bourbonnais Tournament.