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Duchesses no match for mighty LaSalle-Peru

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(Anne Hermes/SVM)
Dixon's Caitlin Rozek (12) and Lexy Duncan defend a hit by LaSalle-Peru's Taylor Gibson during Monday's match at Lancaster Gym. The Duchesses lost 25-9, 25-14.

DIXON – When Dixon moves to the Big Northern West next year, it likely won't miss its conference encounters with LaSalle-Peru on the volleyball court.

The Cavaliers put on an impressive all-around display on Monday night, rolling to a 25-9, 25-14 victory over the Duchesses in Lancaster Gymnasium.

"We were out-matched tonight, but I don't feel bad," Dixon coach Bunyan Cocar said. "I thought our girls played hard. I wouldn't say we played as well as we could, but we got down, got a little bit tight, and didn't play our best, loose volleyball like we normally do. We got down and didn't want to make mistakes, but L-P just makes everything look so easy and fluid."

Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Gibson got L-P off to a fast start in Set 1 with two kills and two ace serves, then senior middle hitter Rachel Hunt followed with a pair of kills to put her team up 6-1.

Dixon (13-18, 4-4 NIB-12 West) got to within 10-6 after kills from Amy Rotella and Jessa Long, but it all L-P after that. The Cavaliers had 12 kills and three aces on their way to the easy set win.

Dixon put up a bit more of a fight in the second set. A kill by Haley Fitzsimmons matched the team's first set output and got the Duchesses to within 16-9, but the Cavaliers (27-3, 8-0) restored order with a kill from Gibson, a block from Cierra Johnson and two aces from Gibson to up the margin to 20-9.

A big swing from L-P junior middle hitter Ellie Senica finally finished things off.

Gibson led the way for the Cavaliers with nine kills, while Senica and Hunt added five and four, respectively. Abby Turczyn finished with five digs, and running the show effectively was senior setter Katie Olson with 19 assists.

Cocar came away very impressed with Olson, who once played at Rock Falls and is the daughter of former Rockets boys basketball coach Scott Olson.

"Their offense all revolves around her," Cocar said. "She makes them go fast. They can run that middle with her. You have to have the right tempo, and she knows the exact tempo. She can attack the ball. She can hit it left-handed. She's the whole package."

"The setter's really good, and we didn't know where she was dumping to," Dixon freshman libero Jessa Long said. "When we we tried to pick up the tips, we didn't know where she was tipping to. She's just a really good setter, and you don't know where she's going with the ball. Eventually that's the way we want to become as a team."

Long finished with 11 digs for the Duchesses, Rachel Gascoigne had 15 assists, Amy Rotella had seven kills and four digs, and Lexy Duncan added four kills.

Star of the match: Katie Olson, LaSalle-Peru, 19 assists

Key performers: Amy Rotella, Dixon, 7 kills, 4 digs; Taylor Gibson, LaSalle-Peru, 9 kills

Up next: Dixon at Geneseo, 6 p.m. tonight

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