Vilseck's serving carries the day
October 4, 2014
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- You got served.
The visiting Vilseck Falcons deployed a spot-on service game Saturday in a four-team Division I volleyball meet and came away with a pair of victories that included a straight-set shellacking of the host and three-time defending European champion Royals.
"This is a big win for our program," Falcons coach Brian Swenty said after his team's 25-18, 25-22, 25-20 conquest of Ramstein.
Junior Kaylee Luginbuhl was thrilled not just to earn the long-awaited win for her senior teammates, but to do so in such convincing fashion.
"Our team did amazing. I'm really proud of them," Luginbuhl said. "We took them out in three sets. Not 3-1. Three!"
The Falcons edged ahead early in each set to keep the Royals out of rhythm.
They went up 17-10 in the first set, shook off a Ramstein rally attempt and earned the win on a Cassie Bell ace. Luginbuhl's service excellence led Vilseck on a six-point string in the third set, establishing a 13-6 advantage that withstood another ill-fated Royal comeback effort.
Luginbuhl finished with six aces, while Bell had three.
While Vilseck continued to gather confidence and experience in hopes of challenging for a championship, the meet's other long-haul visitor made its own form of progress. The Lakenheath Lancers earned their first Division I victory of the season, beating Kaiserslautern 25-21, 25-18, 26-24.
Lakenheath lost much of the talent that took the program to last year's European championship match. Senior Jade Julien is one of the few key players back to guide the recovery effort, a role she'd hoped would fall to her when the 2013 graduating class left campus.
And so it did for the new Lancer captain. But with so many new faces on the roster, Julien said the early part of the season was as much about building interpersonal relationships as on-court teamwork.
"That was the hardest part, trying to get everyone to connect. Because we're from such different groups at school," said Julien, a four-year member of the Lancer program. "It's really hard getting that connection. By this time of the season, we're actually like really good friends."
An up-and-down start to the season didn't make the adjustment any easier. The Lancers lost to Ramstein and Division II AFNORTH last month while earning their only wins over regional small-school opponents Menwith Hill and Alconbury.
"Honestly, the losses are kind of taking a toll on us," Julien said. "But I think that's actually pushing us a little harder."
The Lancers took the first set from Vilseck later in the afternoon but ran out of steam in an 18-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-11 loss to the Falcons.
Ramstein salvaged its Saturday with a 25-18, 25-21, 28-26 sweep of Kaiserslautern.