ALGONA - Three wins over North Central Conference opponents, including two over the host school, gave the Webster City volleyball team plenty to build on during the Algona Invitational on Saturday.
The Lynx (5-3) won four of six matches on the day and claimed the third-place prize after stopping Algona for the second time, 2-1. They beat the Bulldogs 21-16, 17-21, 15-11 during pool play and then trumped them 18-21, 21-16, 15-6 in the bronze-medal match.
WCHS also secured 2-0 wins over Belmond-Klemme (21-17, 21-12) and Hampton-Dumont (21-16, 21-10). The Lynx were dealt 2-0 losses by tournament champion and 12th-ranked (Class 2A) Lake Mills (25-23, 21-15) and runner-up North Union (21-16, 21-17).
"We did really well on the day, especially against Lake mills because they're a tough team," WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. "We only had one real lapse on the day and that was against the North Union team. I felt we could have competed with them a little bit better than we did, but the girls did a nice job of bouncing back and going after Hampton-Dumont in the next match."
WCHS, Algona and North Union were deadlocked in a three-way tie for second after the pool round.
Algona, winners of seven consecutive NCC championships before WCHS ended its run last fall, was unable to match the Lynx consistency in the two bouts, and Howard said that was the difference.
Kills - WCHS: Kaylee Schnathorst 44, Bridget Moriarty 23, Morgan Gourley 17, Molly Gilbert 16, Hannah Myers 8, Mikaleh McCoy 1.
Blocks - WCHS: Moriarty 5, Myers 4, Schnathorst 3, McCoy 1, Gourley , Gilbert .
Digs - WCHS: Schnathorst 37, Tiffany Constable 35, Gourley 33, Kaitlyn Kehoe 16, Ashley Price 10, Gilbert 9, Monica Maharry 7, Moriarty 6, Myers 3, McCoy 2.
Assists - WCHS: Kehoe 50, Price 44, Gilbert 4, Gourley 3, Myers 2, Maharry 1, McCoy 1, Schnathorst 1.
Serving - WCHS: Price 47-49, 7 aces; Kehoe 34-35, 4 aces; Constable 38-42, 3 aces; Schnathorst 33-38, 3 aces; Maharry 28-30, 2 aces; Gourley 48-52; Moriarty 5-5.
"They're a young team and inconsistency is just something you deal with when you've got young girls playing," she said. "We stayed aggressive against them and we didn't let them take control, but it could be a completely different match the next time we face them."
Junior outside hitter Kaylee Schnathorst laced 44 kills on the day, including a match-high 12 in the tight loss to Lake Mills. The all-state performer also led the Lynx in digs with 37.
Bridget Moriarty smacked 23 kills and came up with 5 blocks. Morgan Gourley finished the day with 17 kills and 33 digs, and Molly Gilbert chipped in 16 kills.
Libero Tiffany Constable was all over the floor, piling up 35 digs, and setter Kaitlyn Kehoe dished out 50 assists to go along with 16 digs. Fellow setter Ashley Price put up 44 assists and 10 digs.
Howard still exited the gymnasium frustrated with her team's serving. The Lynx missed 18 serves and collected just 19 aces.
"I was still frustrated with our serving," she said. "Missing a serve is just not being focused when you're back there, so that's something we'll continue to work on."
WCHS will have several days to prepare for the start of the conference season. The Lynx will make their debut in the school's new gymnasium on Thursday when they host Fort Dodge St. Edmond at 7:15 p.m.