The Davenport Assumption volleyball team already has one of the best outside hitters in the area in senior Lindsay Stratman.
So it is not good news for opponents that the Knights' other offensive options are stepping up at playoff time.
Junior Maddy Mayeski showed how dangerous she could be at the net Wednesday night in the Knights' Class 3A regional quarterfinal contest against Northeast.
Mayeski hammered down 10 kills and contributed six blocks to lead Assumption to the 25-4, 25-10, 25-13 victory over the Rebels on the Knights' home court. Assumption (26-8) advances to host West Liberty in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Mayeski continued her excellent play from Monday night's victory over Pleasant Valley. She and fellow junior Anna Vonderhaar, in particular, have been dominating at the net in the last two matches. Vonderhaar had five kills and four blocks in the win.
"Everyone is really starting to work together and feel each other. We were all really new this year with each other, and things are finally starting to click," Mayeski said of the recent offensive cohesion.
Stratman put up 14 kills for the Knights and committed just one hitting error, continuing her excellent stretch of nearly error-free volleyball. But the Rebels (6-25) did start to zone in on Assumption's best hitter as the match went on, which led to setters Lea Nelson and Lauren Dilulio feeding other Knights for kills.
Along with Mayeski and Vonderhaar, Kylie Welch, Carly King and Erika Martin played well within the flow of the offense.
"That is something we always focus on, spreading out the offense and finding different hitters," Mayeski said.
Vonderhaar and Mayeski combined for big blocks in the win over PV, and the duo continued to wreak havoc at the net again as Northeast managed just nine kills for the whole match. The reason Mayeski and Vonderhaar team up so well is the two play on the same club team.
"We've been blocking and playing together with each other for a long time so we know how to work well together," Mayeski said.
Knights coach Bre Scherler said she was glad her team stayed focused after an emotional win over Pleasant Valley. She added the play of Mayeski and Vonderhaar has her excited for the future as well.
"It's great to see (the juniors) step up and what could happen next year as well," Scherler said. "That is going to be the key to our offense going forward, spreading out the ball and using all six of our hitters."
Anna Corlett finished with three aces and 15 digs for the hosts. Nelson (18 assists, 11 digs) and Dilulio (12 assists) kept the offense running smoothly. Welch chipped in seven digs for the winners.
Northeast was led by Casidy Dondiego (four kills), Hailey Smith (eight digs), Jacey House (two aces) and Christian Jacobsen (five assists). Rebels coach Aubree Tanzillo said she was proud of her team's effort this season but added it was tough to overcome the loss of 10 seniors from the 2016 squad.
"Our struggle all year has been we start off well then we don't finish or we struggle starting and then get better but the match runs out," Tanzillo said. "Our group of seniors this year had some good mentors last year, but court-wise you don't get a lot of match experience. They had a lot of trying to get game experience but then also learning the strategy behind it, and that is tough. They put a lot of heart and effort into that, and I am proud of that."