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Frankfort volley honors seniors, beats Southmont

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HUGGING IT OUT: Frankfort’s Emily Michael receives a hug from a teammate during a Senior Night program prior to Monday’s game against Southmont as her fellow seniors and their parents look on.
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SENIORS HONORED: Frankfort volleyball honored its seniors before Monday’s home game against Southmont. Those honored, from left with their parents behind them, included Avery Drew (parents Gary and Andrea Drew), Riley Isgrigg (Mick and Beckie Isgrigg), Kimee Kingma (Kirk and Kristal Kingma), Emily Michael (Jamie and Susie Michael) and Jenna Rockhold (John and Amy Rockhold).
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DIGGING IT: Frankfort sophomore Lindsey Gay digs out a spike from Southmount during Monday’s match as senior Avery Drew looks on.
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GOING FOR THE KILL: Frankfort’s Riley Isgrigg (6) spikes the ball as Southmont’s Alexis Nelson and Lilly Ward look to block and Frankfort’s Ashley Timmons (5) watches the play develop during Monday’s four-set win by the Hot Dogs.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Frankfort volleyball celebrated its seniors prior to Monday’s season-ending match against Southmont, and they were sent out in style with a four-set victory to improve the Hot Dogs’ record to 19-11.

“I felt very proud of them with five seniors that have made significant contributions (to the program) over the last three or four years,” Frankfort head coach Kia Rushton said. “We could have let tonight be emotional and be sad, but instead we stayed focused and did what we needed to do.”

Prior to the match, those seniors – Avery Drew, Riley Isgrigg, Kimberlee Kingma, Emily Michael and Jenna Rockhold – were honored in a brief ceremony as they were escorted in by their parents and presented a gift bag, along with some emotional hugs, by the underclassmen.

No emotional drag was apparent in the first set though, as after a 1-1 tie Frankfort junior Chloe Roberts held serve five times in a row to push the lead to 6-1. The Hot Dogs would increase that lead to 9-2 and 12-5 before eventually taking the first set 25-14, with Isgrigg holding serve four times to take the lead to 19-9 at one point.

Frankfort would drop the second in a tight 26-24 set, but bounced back to close out the match 25-17, 25-22 against a stong Southmont squad whose record fell to 21-10 with the loss. The Hot Dogs have won five matches in a row and seven of the last eight, as they enter into a Thursday sectional meeting with Northwestern. 

“This helps us,” Rushton said. “We’re tied for third in the conference now, we’re 19-11.

“I’m really proud of my seniors and starters for coming out and finishing the season strong.”

In the second set, it looked like the Hot Dogs might duplicate the first. After Southmont jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Roberts again reeled-off five points off serve to give Frankfort a 6-3 lead, but the Mounties responded closing to 8-7 and the set went back-and-forth with neither squad able to push the lead beyond two the rest of the way.

The Hot Dogs had a chance to close out the set at 24-23, but Southmont held and the Mounties’ Macy Wells served out the set with Frankfort’s Rockhold making a nice dig to keep the final point going off a strong spike by Southmont’s Alexis Nelson before Nelson got another chance and made a clean kill down the line.

Isgrigg was recognized by the public address announcer on Frankfort’s ninth point of the set for hitting 3,000 assists during her career on an eventual kill by Kingma.

The third set featured huge swings as Drew won five straight points on serve to push Frankfort to an 8-3 lead before Southmont’s Lilly Ward held serve for seven straight to give the Mounties an 11-8 advantage.

At 17-14, the Hot Dogs behind service by Ashley Timmons took a commanding 23-15 lead before closing out the set 25-17.

Frankfort took control in the middle of the final set, moving to leads of 14-8 and 19-13 before the Mounties tightened the set with four straight points. They moved to within 24-22 before a kill by Frankfort’s Kingma ended the contest.

Kingma led the Hot Dogs with 15 kills, also contributing two blocks and four digs on the night. Ashley Timmons had 11 kills along with three aces, four blocks and 25 digs.

Isgrigg had 37 assists on her way to passing the 3,000 career mark. She also had five kills and seven digs. Drew led the squad with 27 digs, adding a kill and two assists.

Other contributors included Emily Michael (nine kills and three digs), Roberts (four kills, two aces, three blocks and eight digs), Allyson Timmons (three blocks and a dig) and Lindsey Gay (eight digs and an ace).

The Hot Dogs begin sectional play on Thursday against Northwestern in the second game of the Class 3A Sectional at Western High School in Russiaville. It is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

Northwestern put Frankfort out in the first round of last year’s tournament, but Rushton hopes the senior leadership on this year’s squad makes a difference against the 24-6 Tigers.

“It’s a great challenge,” she said. “We have to go out and play fearlessly.

“They’re very good,” Rushton continued. “They have a real strong hitter in Madison Layden, and it’s a team that knows how to win.”

The teams haven’t met since last year’s sectional. The coach noted that Frankfort had no seniors on last year’s squad and has “everybody back” while Northwestern lost some players from the previous match.

“We played very scared and on our heels last year in the first two sets,” Rushton said, “and then we made a game of it in the third set.”