Davenport Assumption’s Emma Schubert recorded her 500th career kill against Muscatine on Tuesday night but it was Schubert’s work at the service line that jump-started the Knights at key moments.
Assumption trailed in sets one and three to the visiting Muskies but both times Schubert helped her team rally as the hosts held off a strong effort from Muscatine, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21.
Assumption (7-0) improved to 4-0 in the Mississippi Athletic Conference while Muscatine (6-4) dropped to 2-2 in conference.
Schubert said she knew about the kills mark but was a little surprised at how the fans and her team celebrated when she recorded No. 500 late in the second set. Schubert finished with seven kills in the win. Maggie Johnson and AJ Schubert led the Knights with nine kills each.
The Assumption student section all held up signs with the number 500 printed on them. Schubert suspects her younger sister AJ set that part up.
“I am just excited about it. It’s a cool number to reach,” Emma Schubert said. “But I honestly did not know about the signs, so good for (AJ).”
But Schubert said she was proud her team rallied in a match that the Knights trailed, at one point, in all three sets. Muscatine took advantage of some erratic Assumption hitting and led 13-10 in the first set. Emma Schubert stepped up and served eight straight points, including a pair of aces, to give the hosts an 18-13 lead. Emma also had three kills down the stretch to help Assumption snag the first set.
Assumption coach Bre Scherler said Schubert steadied her team when the Knights were playing at too frenetic a pace early on that suited Muscatine much more.
“She has a calming influence and we needed that at that time,” Scherler said of Schubert. “It was a battle of who was going to control the pace of the match and Emma helped us gain that control.”
The freshman Johnson helped the hosts get out of a 7-4 deficit with four kills in the second set. Johnson also added a pair of blocks as Assumption gained the lead at 10-8 and won 15 of the final 23 points of the second set. AJ Schubert asserted herself as well in the middle set with five kills.
Muscatine continued to fight and again led 11-9 in the third set when Emma was back on the service line again. She kept the Muskies off-balance with six straight points to give Assumption a 15-11 lead before the streak was broken. The Muskies did not go away but the match was not tied again.
Mia Quijas and Anna Strajack came off the bench in the third set to help give Assumption the push it needed on the attack. Strajack had three kills in the final set and Quijas added two more kills.
Bri Gartner (12 digs), Annabelle Costello (eight digs, 33 assists) and Claire Smith (five kills, two blocks) also made big contributions for the winners.
Meadow Freers had four blocks and four kills for Muscatine. Madison Petersen had five kills for the visitors. Malia Washington-Cook had four kills for the Muskies while Olivia Harmon added three kills.
Kaylynn Salyars had 15 assists and four aces while Rylie Moss (11 digs), Aricka Ramser (five digs) and Kyleia Salyars (four digs) led the defensive effort for Muscatine.
The Muskies had battled two of the conference favorites in their last two conference matches in the Knights and Pleasant Valley last week. Despite not winning a set in those matches, Muscatine coach Kara Russell said she likes how her team has not backed down.
“I thought we fought really hard, especially that last set,” Russell said. “Playing teams like (Assumption/PV), I know that we can fight with them and take a set from them. That just teaches us what we need to work on. I like playing matches like this because it makes them want to push harder and get better.”
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