Doerhoff, Lady Knights Fall to FZE

Senior Kate Doerhoff leads the Lady Knights in a pre-game huddle (file photo)

Senior Kate Doerhoff leads the Lady Knights in a pre-game huddle (file photo)

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, the FHN girls volleyball team faced a strong opponent in what has become a fierce rivalry of black and gold and black and gold.

“We’ve done a lot of practicing,” head coach Kent Stover said. “Our biggest focus is just trying to improve as we move along. We want to get a little better every game we play.”

The Knights began the first set well against the Lions of FZE, taking an early 9-4 lead before FZE called its first timeout. In that time, though, senior Kate Doerhoff exited the match with an ankle injury.

“Once [Doerhoff] got hurt, we just kind of fell apart,” senior Ann Heitmann said. “We were all scrambling around, then we got into our own heads, and we couldn’t pull out.”

By the time the Lions called their second timeout, the Knights had begun giving away their lead. The scoreboard read 16-13 in favor of FHN while the respective student sections chanted “Let’s go Li-ons!” and “Here we go, Howell North!” during the second break in play.

It was the beginning of the end for the Knights.

The FHN student section was only able to chant “Score-board” once before the Lions went on a 7-2 run, forcing the Knights to call their first timeout.

“They took it to us after Kate’s injury,” Stover said. “It wasn’t like we folded; they stepped up. They saw the opportunity, and they played better once Kate was down.”

Seven serves and a couple kills from FZE’s Mia Mueller later, the Lions took the first set by a score of 25-20. This was answered with the Knights’ crowd singing a half-hearted, lackluster rendition of the iconic “Let’s Go” chant.

The second set started off no better for FHN, as they got into a 2-10 deficit before FHN rang in its first timeout.

“I think everyone was just really nervous with all of the people that were here,” junior Courtney Haislip said. “It was just different for everyone. There are four new girls on varsity, so that was different. Everyone just got in their heads.”

The eight-point advantage for the Lions remained until FZE called its first timeout with a 16-8 lead. The Knights’ student section remained quiet throughout the second set, throughout a 7-1 run by the Lions, throughout their team’s 25-18 loss.

Following the loss, the Knights were almost exclusively looking forward to their next games.

“Even if someone gets hurt,” Heitmann said, “we’re going to have to pull through it and hope for the best of it.”

Her teammate agrees.

“We need to not get in our heads and just focus on the next game,” Haislip said.

The Knights next game is Thursday, Aug. 25 at FZW. They hope to have Doerhoff back by their next match, though their coach has a good idea of the game plan moving forward.

“We were overthinking our game,” Stover said. “We figured out some of the things we’ve got to work on. We’re going to work on our hitting and our outside setting.”

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