Friday, August 22, 2014

Atwood Battle Goes to Neers at Hot Time in the Joe

The Lady Pioneers opened their volleyball season tonight at home at the Muggy Joe against the Conner Cougars.  The humid conditions were causing the AC to condensate and leak on the floor.  The air was turned off but the Joe turned into a sauna, causing the floor to sweat and get slippery.  Nevertheless, an absolute phenomenal weeknight crowd, including a decent student section, turned out for the contest.  Conner is led by SK Coach Andrea Atwood’s daughter, Deandra, a soph at the Hebron campus. 

The Frosh and JV teams opened up the Tri-match.  The Freshman won in convincing two game fashion.  Sledding got tough for the JV team as they won the first set easily but ended up losing the match in three sets.
After an outstanding preseason that consisted of a 5th place tie at the Bluegrass State Games (out of 84 teams) and strong scrimmage showings against Cooper and Brossart, the girls were ready to get the real season going.  SK showed up where they left off last season as one of the top ranked teams in Kentucky, coming in at 23 in the state coach's poll-a little low in my biased opinion.   

The varsity team, led by a whopping 7 seniors, took to the floor and looked strong in warm-ups.   The girls looked loose and ready to have fun.  The Neers came out and hung a double digit lead on Conner.  Once SK got to 23, they got frozen and tightened up, allowing Conner to come back and tie the score after they led by 23-16.  SK got the final two points they needed but it clearly gave Conner some momentum for the rest of the match.  A back and forth scoring scenario characterized the second set as SK comes back in the end to also win by a 25-23 score.  SK seemed to let up and tighten up more in the third set as they clearly struggled throughout the set, losing by a final of 21-25.  The team seemed to come back and get things back together in the 4th set, preventing the start of a fifth game and pulled out a 25-20 win.

While the Cougars were scrappy and deserves credit for battling the Neers, SK certainly did not play up to their preseason form.  Call it first game jitters but they really seemed to tighten up when they got backed in a corner.  The team has a lot of talent and will have a better showing on Tuesday night when they return to the Joe.  SK was led by Seniors Rachael Figgins,  who posted 10 kills and 6 blocks, Ellie Smith with 8 kills, Carson Elliott with 19 assists and Floorburn Schmee with 15 digs.   
Kenzie celebrates her match winning serve...just a little!  She also made an unbelievable play one time by blasting the ball into the net which allowed Anna Cully to win the point.  Awesome play by the sophomore. 

It is fun watching these three and their antics. MF2_6627

I can't believe she's a senior...great match last night Smallest Fig Hides Behind a Bush. MF2_6488

Atwoods at least smiling before the game.  Great pic of mom and daughter. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#PioneerNation IS REAL!

Dag-gone-it.  That wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.  A great Neer team that worked hard, had talent and was just a great team to be a part of, even as a parent, was supposed to be the first SK girls team to win a volleyball regional.  It didn’t happen.  
A gym full of Neer faithful (and a few painted Titans) showed up late but were 100% behind the Lady Pioneers.  Thank you students, coaches, teachers and administrators who were there.  I know the girls really appreciated it.  Yes, the Pioneer Nation was real tonight and it helped carry the team to a thrilling match.  I kind of questioned the whole school support thing the other night but it was in full force tonight.  Well done.  
SK goes down by scores of 30-28, 25-23, 20-25, and 25-19.  Points and stats don’t really matter that much now but the turning point was definitely the first set where SK led by scores of 16-8 and 23-18 but just couldn’t get the scores that they needed.  North Oldham proved they were the team to beat in the region as they came storming back to take the set.  The high level of energy was quieted and the looseness of the Neers suddenly made things a little tight after the lead was squandered.  BUT, this team did not quit and give up.  They fought to the very end.  The match was a thriller as evidenced by the scores.  Not too often a team scores 95 points and still falls.  The match went on for almost two hours; but dag-gone-it.  Everyone wanted so bad for the girls to be able to hang a banner in the empty spot on the west wall of the gym.  Mary Jo and I were going to be passing out scissors tomorrow night to have the girls cut down the net.  
Coaches Atwood, Hacker, and Marx.  Thank you for the time you spent with our daughters this year and being there for them to have a positive outlet.  So many other “things” they could have be a part of but they were lucky to have you there leading them and teaching them the sport of volleyball.  
Players, thanks for a great season.  I’m bummed the season is over.  Thanks for your dedication and hard work and making this Blog thing so much fun.  When I think back about the season, I think about success on the court (including the one set V against NDA) but I think most everyone will most remember Dig for Depew Night.  That was one of the best experiences I’ve seen at a high school sporting event or any event at SK.  Even though you lost on the court tonight, your good friend Brittany had a major victory in the game of life today as she got word that her leukemia is once again in remission.  That’s what really matters. 
Kaitlin, Sophie and Megan.  You were a great group of seniors for the team.  I wish you the most in your senior year and college experiences.  You will each be missed.  

Thanks to all of the parents and players who have cooked, worked, supplied food etc. to help make the tourney run so smooth. A number of you have gone above and beyond.  For fear of missing someone, I'll just say I really appreciate your efforts. Just one more day!  
I have had a blast this season on the Blog and hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings and shots.  Thanks for reading!  Marc

Good Luck Seniors!

Thanks Coaches!


Our new friends.  Thanks for your support!

Fun times!
MF1_1190"> MF1_1188">

Thank you Neer Fans!  You were awesome.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Neers With "Titan"-ic Like Game in Opening Round of the 8th Region Tourney

SK hosted opening night of 8th Region Volleyball tourney tonight at the Joe. North Oldham bested Collins in the opening match, although Collins turned out with a late arriving, small, but rowdy cheer section. Take note for later.

Once the Lady Neers took in the first game and got dressed for their match, it was clear that they were relaxed and pumped for their match. Jon Webster did a nice job of getting the team ready for action. Once the Neers took to the floor, it was apparent that they were ready for tourney play as they absolutely dismantled the Carroll County Lady Panthers. Scores for the matches were 25-7, 25-10 and 25-5. An awesome team effort where everyone contributed.  

Some stats for the game, Kaitlin Murray with 7 kills, most of them of the hammer variety, Rachael Figgins had 6 kills and 2 blocks, Sophia Dunn with 30 assists, Ellie Smith with a continued strong serve including 7 aces, Sheemeadee with 10 digs, Amarah Nicholson and Haley Robinson with several unreturnable kills in the middle.

Back to the Collins students. There were about 5 young men who showed up late in the first set of their team’s match. After the Collins match was over, they decided to stay and watch the SK match. Not only did they stay and watch but they filled in behind the 25 church pew quiet SK students who were in attendance for the game. For whatever reason, once they decided to take in the game, these Titan fans decided to start cheering for SK. Not only did they cheer, they cheered loudly. It was one of the funnier things I’ve seen in a while at a high school sporting event. The Collins kids were louder than any group of students we’ve seen at SK volleyball. They definitely provided a nice lesson in school spirit. What was really neat is the SK kids really appreciated the cheering.

I got to thinking on the way home; how cool would it be for the SK student body to show up and actually cheer and support the volleyball team on Wednesday night like they do for football and basketball; like this group of 5 Collins students did. North Oldham is the defending regional champ but if the whole Pioneer Nation thing means anything, it can get behind the girls volleyball team and help push them to a regional title. Pioneer Nation doesn’t mean just supporting more football and boys basketball - does it?  I heard a rumor in the hall the Coach Marksberry was going to require the football team to be at the volleyball game after practice on Wednesday.    

This is an awesome group of student athletes that have a chance to do something no other SK team has done by winning a regional title. Get behind them as they play North Oldham in the Regional Semifinals at 6:45 on Wednesday at the Joe. #PioneerNation #IsItReal

Getting ready before the game.

Always smilin'  Happy B-day Kelsey!

Collins kids started off with a group of 3, were joined by a few SK kids.  Once they started catching on, the other SK Volleyballers joined in.  Neat deal.

DSC_0775 DSC_0806

Aerial Competition


Friends afterwards.

Thanks Collins for the support; come on back now ya hear. 610_0693-2

Monday, October 21, 2013

SK Advances to Regional Tourney

The Lady Neer got 32nd District tourney play underway against the Williamstown Lady Demons. SK wins in straight sets and advances to play Walton Verona on Wednesday night at the Joe at 7:00 in the 32nd District Championship. 

Williamstown came into tonight’s match with only 5 wins on the season.  That didn’t seem to matter as the Demons went toe to toe with the Neers in the first set.  SK wins by a final of 25-17.  SK came out with a lot more energy in the second set and won big by a final of 25-5.  Walton played tough in the third set and made several unbelievable plays as they stayed close early before SK put a wrap on things by a final of 25-10.  Stat leaders Haley Robinson  10 kills,  5 blocks; Ellie Smith 7 kills, 4 blocks, Sophie Dunn posted 28 assists and Kelsey Schmiade had 8 digs. 
The win assures SK a place in the regional tournament that will be held next week at the Joe.  Schedule will be posted after all of the Districts are wrapped up. 

It was a good night for SK sports teams as the boys and girls soccer teams both advanced in regional play.  They boys won in PK's versus Shelby County and the girls took down Anderson County in the late-night cap 1-0. 
Sophie Dunn with one of her assists.

Rachael Figgins winds up for a second set kill.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Neers with Sweep Up on the Hill

The Lady Neers headed to Newport tonight for a match up on the hill with NCC.  NCC celebrated Senior night for their 6 seniors in front of a huge and loud crowd.  I was running late from work and got to the match late in the first set.  When I stepped out of the car, I could hear the cheers roaring from the gym.  I'm like, is this a volleyball game going on? 

In varsity action, the Neers were up for much of the first set and led by as many as 3.  They went up 22-20 and looked poised to win the first set.  The Breds came back and ended up coming back and winning the set by a final of 23-25.  SK has struggled this year finishing when they have had leads or when they had to fight to get out of a hole.  That didn’t happen tonight.  SK came back with a vengeance and won the second set 25-22 and built some nice momentum.  They went into the third set and didn’t let up as they built some nice leads against the Breds before going on to an impressive 25-18 win.  New Cath didn’t’ want to go down on senior night and led for much of the fourth set.  SK trailed by as many as 4 points in the match before they dug in with a can’t lose mentality we haven’t seen in a long time.  They gut out one exciting set by a final of 29-27, winning three straight sets to spoil the Breds senior night.  New Cath is a very strong team with a record that doesn’t show how good and improved over last year that they are. Put it this way, they played Louisville Mercy on the road last night.

Tonight was one of SK’s best matches of the year.  Not just because they won but because they overcame a raucous crowd and took a punch when they got down.   SK has seemed to get nervous in front of some of their recent crowds but they thrived on it tonight.  Coach Atwood showed a little ire at one point which seemed to fire her team up.  It also might have gotten someone else fired up.  Let's just say if our good friend Randall Wagner were still with us today, he would have been yelling, “That’s Terrible!”  I was and my vocal cords are a tad irritated as a result.  Things weren’t going SK’s way but they didn’t get frustrated, they got mad and got a refuse to lose tude.  I thought it was awesome.  The seniors led and the rest of the team followed, just how it is supposed to go.  It was an entire team effort as evidenced by the stats:  Kaitlin “Hammer” Murray had 11 kills and her best service of the season; Haley Robinson had 10 kills, 3 blocks, Ellie Smith also had 10 kills, Rachael  Figgins had 6 kills, Amarah Nicholson posted 8 Blocks.  Sophie Dunn put up 32 assists and Schmee dug 23 Tachikara’s for SK. 

SK finishes the regular season at 25-8.  Sure, that’s impressive but right now, SK is 0-0.  All of the past games at this point really don’t matter a whole lot.  Nice record but that’s not what the original goal that they set for themselves in the beginning of the season.  The regular season teaches lessons and tonight that lesson is that the girls have the ability and talent to reach their goals.  There’s  a reason that the coaches throughout  the Commonwealth have voted the Neers as one of the better teams in the state all year…they are good.  It is time to reiterate that goal and go out and get it girls.  I’ve had a good feeling about this year and if they play like they did tonight, you'll be playing in the state tourney.   

I’m out of clich├ęs.  Here’s a recap of the other games that helped the Neers post a sweep of the Breds. 

Freshman team finished their season with a nice match win with set wins by scores of 21-14 and 21-7.  Avery and Brynn each had 5 kills.    Eve had 7 services points in first game.    Kayla had 8 service points in the second game.    Jessica McDonald 20 assists.  The Frosh Neers had no drop balls in either game. 

The JV  won in 2 by scores of 21-15 and 21-17.  Stat leaders were Kahlee Fuehner with 6 kills; Anna Cully with 5 kills; MacKenzie Bard with 9 assists, all complemented by excellent passing by Maggie Mullins and Kesley Holland.  Nice job by the whole Program tonight. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

SK Finishes District Play at 6-0

The Lady Neers hit the road tonight for their final 32nd District match of the regular season.  The varsity team wrapped up a perfect season in District play as they moved their record to 23-8 overall, 6-0 in District play and 6-1 in Regional play.  The matches marked the Lady Braves version of Volley for the Cure. 

There was no Frosh match-up as the Braves only field JV and Varsity teams this year.  The JV got their matches over in fairly quick fashion by scores of 21-4 and 21-13. 

In varsity play, the girls played with an effort that could be described as lackluster, flat, uninspired.  Pick your own synonym, those were just a few of the kinder descriptions I heard in the stands.  Stat leasders included Kaitlin Murray   11 kills,  3 aces; Haley Robinson   8 kills; Sophie Dunn  30 assists and Kesley Schmiade 14 digs.  

The team will need a better effort as they head to Newport to take on NCC up on the hill.  It is GO TIME girls!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Best of Luck Class of 2014 V-ballers!

Seniors Megan Dischar, Sophie Dunn and Kaitlin Murray played their last regular season game at the Joe tonight in front of another awesome crowd.  The SK volleyballers have really enjoyed some strong crowds over the course of their last several games; thanks to the student body, friends and family.  With Districts and possibly regionals at SK this year, this could pay big dividends when the games really matter in a couple of weeks. 

A tough start on the night as the frosh lose by scores of 19-21 and 7-21.  The JV kept had a nice match as they took down Cooper by scores of 21-11 and 22-20.  Stat leaders, Kahlee Fuehner  with 5 kills, MacKenzie Bard with another strong night including 4 kills and 6 assists, Sarah Sergent with 8 assists and Anna Curly with 7 aces and a whole lot of other service points as the soph has her serve really working. 

Maybe too many emotions going for the varsity girls as they fall to Cooper in three straight; 18-25,  21-25, 13-25.  Cooper spoiled senior night with some strong play at the net and defense.  Varsity stat leaders included Kaitlin Murray with 10 kills  - 3 blocks, Rachael  Figgins with 7 kills and  2 blocks, Sophia Dunn  with 27 assists and Kesley Schmiade with 12 digs and some sore joints, elbows and knees.  Ouch. 

Congrats to all three seniors; I really enjoyed reading your senior recaps.  They were well done.  I know you will be successful in your college and career endeavors.  It has been fun watching each of you at SK and I wish you the best of luck. 

Megan, your care about the team and leadership have been awesome this year.  You are always up and ready to go.  Sophie, your smiles and laughter during the matches are an example of the way high school sports should be played- for fun.  Kaitlin, you are the team’s hammer but the thing that sticks most with me about your season is your passion for Brittany.   The fact that all 3 of you shared so many of the same best memories is awesome; a sign of a positive team. 
Even though your senior night is over, the season certainly isn’t.  It is time to get your team going and go out and fill that space on the wall.  You have the chance to be the senior class  of the first Regional Champ.  Go chase that dream!   Best of luck for the remainder of your senior year.
DUNN"> owings"> MURRAY">

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

SK and WV with Successful Volley For A Cure

The Lady Pioneers hosted the WV Bearcats at the Joe tonight.  Festivities tonight surrounded volley for a cure as both teams wore special pink jerseys; SK in bright pink and WV in white trimmed with pink.  An awesome night as another strong weeknight crowd turned out for a great cause.  I’m not sure of the final tally of funds raised but it was definitely a successful night.

On the court, the Neers swept the Cats.  The frosh won the first set in a close one by a score of 21-18 and in a runaway in the second by a score of 21-8.  Avery Niehaus had 5 kills, Ceilia Mac and Brynn O’Brien had to kills.  Jessica McDonald had 10 points of service including 3 aces.  The FroshNeers had a 54 % serve receive passing rating; the first time above 50% for the year.  Coach Amy was quite fired up after the match. 

The JV team had the closest match of the night.  They avenged a loss this past weekend at the Cupcake Classic.  Neers lost a tough first set 15-21 but came back and won the final two sets by scores of 21-15 and 21-18.  Anna Curly led the way in the last set blasting away serves that the Cats had difficulty handling.  Mackenzie Bard had a strong night after stepping in as the lone setter with 13 assists and 3 aces, Emily Popham  got excited with her 7 kills and 4 blocks and Sarah Meyer had a nice night with 4 kills. 

In the varsity match, the Neers came out and looked dominating.  Once they got a big lead, they put it on cruise control and won the first two sets by duplicate scores of 25-16.  In the final set, they jumped out by a 20-4 score on their way to a 25-11 final.  Haley Robinson 10 Kills and 2 blocks; Sophie Dunn  had 26 assists and 3 aces and Ellie Smith notched 5 kills and 7 aces.

Thanks to everyone who made the night successful.  The v-ball team has been an awesome example  for SK athletics this season.

The girls travel back to the Joe on senior night as Megan Dischar, Kaitlin Murray and Sophie Dunn play their last regular season game on the home court.  Come out and support these 3 awesome SK student athletes. 

Sorry that there aren’t any pictures here tonight.  I did post a nice sample on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.633106100074475.1073741849.368288529889568&type=1&l=96f8a00f3b

Interesting fact, tonight marked the first night where teams were not allowed to shake hands after the match.  Yep; not allowed per the KHSAA Commissioners.  According  to the KHSAA, there was too much violence going on during the show of sportsmanship.  For more information, check this out:  http://cincinnati.com/blogs/nkysports/2013/10/08/khsaa-recommends-no-more-postgame-handshakes/

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thank you!

The following is from Brittany's mom.  Please lift up your prayers for Brittany as she has made an early visit to the hospital.

Thank you so much for all of the awesome pictures!!! The entire evening was just amazing!!! To look around that Gym and see all of that orange was just breath taking!!!! I am so thankful for all of the love and support from the community that we have received over the last few months!! It has been so overwhelming!!! Thank you to Kaitlyn and the entire volleyball team for putting this all together. From the homecoming festivities to the volleyball game benefit it has been just one amazing thing after the next and none of us will ever forget it!!! These are memories we will cherish forever!!! Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!! Brittany had a wonderful time too!! She is telling everyone at the hospital about the game and how she got to high five all of the girls!!! I would like to say thank you to the Ryle Volleyball Team as well!!! Those girls were so nice to Brittany and for them all to take time out to make a card and give her a flower just melts my heart!!! Brittany thought it was pretty kool too!!! She has had an amazing month despite the Leukemia relapse!!! Thank you to everyone who had a hand in putting a smile on Brittany's face and tears of joy in her eyes!!!! Our family thanks all of you from the bottom of our hearts!!!! DSC_6566">

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh What A Night!

The Lady Neers hosted Ryle tonight in v-ball action.  It was a sea of orange as everyone was sporting their leukemia awareness color.  On the scoreboard, SK lost.  But it didn’t matter; so much good came out of tonight that I don’t even know where to start.  If you missed the news, SK and Ryle held a fundraiser and celebration festivities for SK student Brittany Depew who is in a fierce battle with leukemia but is on her Road to Remission.  

Brittany coming through the tunnel, breaking the paper like a mighty football player, her emotions and Kaitlin Murray’s speech didn’t leave many dry eyes in the house.  Not sure what else to say other than amazing.  

The turnout looked like a midwinter’s Friday night b-ball game.  It was obviously a Thursday night but the Joe was packed.  An absolutely awesome site to see this many people come out for a volleyball match.  

SK and Ryle have become rivals on the sports fields lately in all sports, maybe one of the biggest rivals in Northern Kentucky.  However, tonight was nothing less than a class act display by both teams and schools.  I commend the players and coaches from both of these programs as you have been an example to not just your schools but the community as to the good things that can come from high schools sports.  

When the SK coaches and players called on Ryle and Coach Tasha Lovins a couple of weeks ago to be a part of tonight’s festivities, they not only responded by saying they would wear shirts but responded with commitment and action.  Ryle raised $700 for Brittany’s cause.  All of us associated with SK and Brittany’s family THANK YOU for your response!   

What tonight should teach us all is that young people, yes high school students can have passion for people and make a difference in lives.  Kaitlin Murray and Brittany Depew have a great amount of care for each other.  They’ve inspired each other and made differences in each other’s lives.  Refreshing to see.  

Things like this don’t get pulled off without people asking, making phone calls and getting things done.  This entire thing got pulled off in just a little over two weeks.  I may be missing some folks but here we go.   

Again, our School and Community would like to thank Ryle for helping tonight’s events possible.  
Coach Atwood, Marx and Hacker, all of the players; SK vball rocks.  
Kaitlin Murray for your passion and words and helping those who don’t know Brittany to get to know her.  Presenting Brittany with the Ipad was an awesome idea.   
Karen and Andy Murray of Murray Promotions for the great work and contributions to the t-shirts and turning SK into Ryle Orange and everything else you did to support your girl’s passion.  
Andrea Samuel and Marcy Niehaus for getting the awesome baskets and sponsors secured and decorating the gym.  
Roger Holland for the Change for Brittany that raised almost $400 and 50 pounds of change.  
The SK Volleyball Booster Officers, Andrea Brown, Laura Cully, Elizabeth Bard and Mischelle Figgins; I know you all work tirelessly for the betterment of the program and our girls.  
SK students, the Pioneer Nation phrase gets thrown around a lot but tonight, you truly were; thank you for your support. 
Last but not least, the local businesses that make Independence a special place to live and did something to contribute to tonight including Judes, Skyline, Wendy's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Fantastic Sam’s, Dominich’s, Rio Grande, Texas Roadhouse, Independence Skateway, Edible Arrangements, Danbury Movie Theater, United Dairy Farmers,  Kroger, Walgreens, Snappy Tomato Pizza, Yo-Yo's Frozen Yogurt, PostNet, Papa John's, Subway, Independence Ace Hardware, LaRosas and State Rep Tom Kerr.  I know I’m missing some but I’ll update.   
Finally, Brittany, the appreciation and joy on your face will stick with everyone who was there tonight for a long, long, time.  God Bless You on your Road to Remission.