The Broughton High volleyball team presented Katja Ehlers a game ball before its 3-0 (25-12, 26-24, 25-19) win over a previously undefeated Leesville Road on Thursday night.
The Capitals’ senior outside hitter had reached 1,000 career kills in the previous game and was being honored for that accomplishment.
Whatever remnants remained from her milestone game against Wake Forest, Ehlers poured them on the court.
She opened the first set with five kills before finishing with 15. Junior Kalee Vanderhorst led the game with 16 as Broughton (10-0, 5-0 Cap-8) stayed undefeated.
Ehlers dominated from all spots on the floor to boost the Capitals early, taking a liking to the left side and back row.
“She went crazy there in that first half of the match,” Broughton coach Jim Freeman said. “Maybe we should give her a ball before each match. We have to start dreaming up reasons to give her a ball.”
While Broughton handily captured the first set, there were six lead changes in the next. Ehlers sent over a tip from the back row to create separation, but Leesville Road (7-1, 4-1) forced a 24-24 tie in Set 2 after a Daniela McDonald kill. She led the Pride with nine.
“This game is a game of runs, and all of sudden they start feeling good,” Freeman said. “The next thing you know, it’s a tie game. You can’t do that when you’re playing good teams. They’re going to take advantage.”
Another Ehlers tip put Broughton within one point of the sweep. Senior setter Kati Smith kneeled to bump the pass, as her 5-foot-10 teammate finished it.
The Pride next reeled off four consecutive points before the setback.
“Our passing and our defense and our setting was on point today,” Ehlers said. “This game, we just wanted to come out with good energy and good fight. We did that tonight.”
Three who mattered
Katja Ehlers, Broughton: Her strong start lifted the Capitals. Not only was she a force in the attacking column, she also recorded seven digs. Tiana Butler led the Caps with nine digs.
Kalee Vandershorst, Brougton: Her 16 kills were always dominant, as one broke up a late tie in the second set.
Sydney Wilson, Leesville Road: She led the game with 11 digs and spread herself across the floor to combat attacks. She added seven kills, two assists and an ace.
Rachel Byrd, Broughton: In a match where Broughton’s blocking gave Leesville Road fits, Bryd was someone who manned the net. She led the game with four blocks and added five kills. Her first two kills came at the net on the first contact.
“She’s a really good intuitive player, a really good blocker,” Freeman said. “She’s very smart, a great teammate and did a great job up there. It’s easy to get missed if you’re not one of the outside hitters.”
Senior Kati Smith kept a Leesville Road double block attempt alive in Set 2, after a volley that started to resemble a pinball machine. Since Smith was the setter, her younger sister, Holli, tossed up the pass as Kati killed it.
By the numbers
5: Ehlers kills in the first set
34: Kati Smith assists to lead the match
6: Lead changes in Set 2
7: Broughton blocks
24: Straights sets the Capitals have won
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan