Jayden Tompkins (#15) scores winning point in second set with a kill. (Image from Kaitlyn Wadulack)

Hurricanes volleyball gain their tenth win after close sets against the Lions

After sweeping the Bradford Tornadoes 3-0 Tuesday night, the Gainesville High School Hurricanes volleyball team earned their second win of the week against The Rock School Lions. 

The Hurricanes (10-4) and the Lions (4-10) had some close sets throughout the match, but the Hurricanes ended the Lions chance of redemption in the fourth and final set of the game. 

Slow start to dominating victory for Hurricanes in the first set 

The first set began with the Lions scoring the first four points after the Hurricanes missed hits and passed out of bounds. The Hurricanes were able to tie up the set 8-8 with an ace by freshman setter Lexi Jurecko. Both the Hurricanes and the Lions were fighting hard to get in the lead, but two aces by freshman libero Meme Davis gave Gainesville the upper hand leading 15-10. 

The Hurricanes dominated in kills towards the end of the first set. Sophomore outside hitter Jasmine VerBust and senior opposite hitter Rori Becker each had one kill in the first set. Senior middle blocker Jayden Tompkins, however, led the Hurricanes with a total of four kills, including the set winning point. The final score of the first set was 25-13 Hurricanes. 

Timeout leads Hurricanes to second set win 

The start of the second set was back and forth, with both teams taking turns leading in points. The Hurricanes were able to generate a series of back to back points with an ace by junior defensive specialist Nicole Brandt and another kill from VerBust; however, the Lions came back after a few blocks to the Hurricane’s hits. The Lions led the Hurricanes 15-12. 

Head Coach Chancie Vice called for a timeout after the Lions took the lead. During her timeout, Coach Vice gave her team a new offensive adjustment to attempt to take the lead back.

“We make an offensive adjustment because a lot of times we get into a groove of things and it helps when they have a coach who can see the other side and tell them ‘okay let’s just try this.’ Also just being the wave for them, meaning I set the tone, but I don’t ride the wave. I stay idle…the one they can lean on.”

The energy shifted for the Hurricanes after the timeout. The Hurricanes were able to tie it up 16-16 after freshman setter and defensive specialist Rylan Hauptman spiked the ball and the Lions failed to dig. Though the Lions kept the Hurricanes on their toes for the rest of the set, at match point Tompkins, again, was able to score the set winning point after a kill. The final score for the second set was 25-22 Hurricanes. 

Lions third set come back

It was a rough start in the third set for both teams, as each kept giving up points for hitting the net, missing digs, or serving the ball out of bounds. When down 10-8, the Hurricanes were able to consecutively score seven points after an ace by Brandt, a block by sophomore middle blocker Ta’Niya Walker, and a series of missed hits and double touches by the Lions. 

The Hurricanes continued to dominate the third set, with three more kills by VerBust. This lead, however, was soon taken away at the end of the set after the Hurricanes missed consecutive hits and digs. The Lions took this opportunity and won the third set 25-23. 

Lions penalty leads Hurricanes to victory

Both teams fought hard during the first half of the fourth set, alternating points after each rally. The Lions suffered a penalty for being out of rotation, which fueled the Hurricanes to take the lead at 7-6 after a hit by Verbust. The Lions offense continued to struggle after missing hits, hitting the ball into the net, and losing points for double touches. 

Tompkins played a major role in leading the Hurricanes to win, with a total of two blocks and three kills in the fourth set. The Hurricanes maintained their lead and won the set 25-19. 

Future for Hurricanes volleyball 

The Hurricanes are now 10-4 this season, a difference from their 14-12 record from last season. Former Gainesville High School volleyball player and new head coach Chancie Vice is shifting this team’s dynamic and implementing changes the girls aren’t used to.

“This is a culture shock for the girls honestly because I am setting very high standards and very high expectations that I know they can accomplish, but it’s definitely different compared with what they have had in the past.”

Just within this season, Coach Vice has seen great improvement within her team. 

“I always told them ‘champions adjust,’ and they have been adjusting on the fly. We have definitely had to overcome some adversity with some injuries here and there, but the girls are definitely buying-in to the expectations and qualities that I am holding them to.”

The Hurricanes next game is this Thursday night at home against Santa Fe at 7 p.m. 

About Kaitlyn Wadulack

Kaitlyn Wadulack is a fourth-year journalism student specializing in sports and media at the University of Florida. You can reach Kaitlyn at k.wadulack@ufl.edu

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