Riverton volleyball benefitting from well-rounded attack, improved blocking

·3 min read

Sep. 21—You might have heard this before.

Riverton volleyball is off to a tremendous start. Coming off two straight trips to the state tournament in Kansas and with the entire team back, the Rams have compiled a perfect 12-0 record (3-0 CNC play) so far in the 2022 fall campaign.

"It's been a good start," Riverton coach Rebecca Lipasek said. "We are trying to build on our success from last year. A big part of that is being more consistent and to get more production out of all our attackers, not rely so heavily on just Jacy (Thomasson). That's one of the things we are working on. We are making some progress with that. We played a lot during the summer, so we were able to get kids a lot of opportunities to step up and try to be those hitters that can help contribute a little bit more. We're pretty pleased."

Riverton has been as dominant as usual this season. The Rams have claimed 10 of their 12 victories in straight sets.

Now a senior, Thomassson leads the way with 154 kills. Juniors EJ Wells and Alivia Parker have contributed 60 and 47 kills, respectively.

Senior Morgan Compton paces the team with 261 assists. Sophomore Lexi Mallett is tops on the defense with 108 digs.

But one of the team's biggest improvements, Lipasek said, is blocking. Thomasson has recorded a team-high 34 blocks, while Wells and Compton have chipped in 17 and 15 blocks, respectively.

"Blocking has definitely been the biggest improvement," Lipasek said. "We have increased our blocking. We are getting that on the pins as well, not just relying on our two big middles. My setter (Compton) when she's front row is contributing with blocking. That part of the game has really improved."

During the preseason, Lipasek noted she's beefed up Riverton's schedule to be even more prepared for conference and postseason play later on this year.

That included her Rams taking part in a summer team camp in Greely, Colorado, at the University of Northern Colorado. Riverton faced a number of squads out of the Denver area, which Lipasek feels will only be beneficial.

"We wanted to get out of the area and compete against some schools," Lipasek said. "We had never heard of the schools, but we would Google them afterwards and be like, 'Oh, that school has 2,500 kids in their high school.' We needed that challenge."

The Rams will get another challenge on Saturday as they take part in the annual Carl Junction Classic. Perhaps the biggest volleyball tournament in the area every fall, Riverton will open pool play with matchups against Carthage, Rogers and West Plains.

Added Lipasek, "We feel like the CJ tournament is a great opportunity for us to see where we're at. It's preparation for what we want to achieve in our own league and postseason play. We think it's going to be great for our team."

Regardless of what happens Saturday, Lipasek can already sense something special brewing within the team.

Riverton's leadership has been unparalleled so far this season, Lipasek said.

"My two senior captains, Morgan and Jacy, you can see that this is our senior year," Lipasek said. "The leadership is stronger. That sense of calm and drive in them in the way they are inspiring the kids around them. They are taking them under their wing and really leading them forward.

"It's exciting to see that because I've been waiting for that to develop, and it's here. We have been young so many years in a row to finally have all this experience is fun to finally throw some younger kids out with that, let them lead those younger kids. It has been fun so far. They are all sad it's going so fast."