GILBERT - The power was present. The accuracy wasn't.
And you can't win if you can't place the ball between the lines.
South Hamilton went the aggressive route behind the service line against Gilbert last night, but in an attempt to generate a hoard of aces the Hawks ended up being their own worst enemy, as a slew of service errors forced them into catch-up mode throughout the Heart of Iowa Conference battle.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton sophomore middle hitter Tiffany Jacobson (5) slaps one of her five kills as setter Mackenzie Busch looks on during the first set against Gilbert last night in Gilbert. The Tigers captured the HOIC contest in four sets.
They never got there.
Gilbert (4-7, 1-1 HOIC) took advantage of the errors and took the bout in four sets, 25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 25-23.
South Hamilton (3-7, 0-1 HOIC) was responsible for 11 miscues behind the service line - all coming in the opening two sets. Two of the blunders came in the initial five points of Set No. 1 - a stretch that gave Gilbert a lead it never relinquished.
Kills - SH: Sarah Rudy 4, Eliana Lowry 6, Alyssa Hegland 1, Savanah Stangeland 1, Tiffany Jacobson 5.
Blocks - SH: Jacobson 5, Stangeland 2, Lowry 2, Rachael Drake 1.
Digs - SH: Hannah Pulis 9, Rudy 7, Shea VanLangen 5.
Serves - SH: Swenson 14-17, 4 aces; Pulis 11-12, 4 aces; Rudy 5-8, 1 ace; Lowry 4-5, 1 ace; VanLangen 13-15, 5 aces; Busch 6-6, Maggie Peters 4-5.
"Wow, it seemed like there were a lot more (service) errors just because they all came early on and that really took us out of it," South Hamilton head coach Cindy Holmes said. "It made for a really difficult time because it gave (Gilbert) a boost and took us out of it emotionally."
The Tigers took the lead for good at 3-2 in the opening set and pushed the advantage to as many as eight points. Zoe Hosch peppered back-to-back aces at the Hawks late in the set and Beth Lynch fired off a kill from the middle of the floor to close the Hawks out.
South Hamilton opened the second set on a 5-2 run, courtesy of a pair of kills from Eliana Lowry - two of her team-high six on the night. But three more service errors ignited a 9-0 Gilbert surge that put the Hawks behind the 8-ball once again.
Tiffany Jacobson finally ended the run with a rocket to the floor - one of her five kills - but the Hawks were never able to draw closer than four points the remainder of the way. They fought off four consecutive set points before Gilbert's Alex Miner said enough is enough with a cross court kill from the left side.
South Hamilton maintained its composure though and gained the upper-hand in Set No. 3, only to watch the Tigers rebound in the fourth set to close it out.
"We made it a little easier on ourselves (in the third set), and Gilbert struggled a little bit with their ball control when we kept the ball alive," Holmes said. "But in (the fourth set) we started tipping a lot and their libero (Katelyn Stearns) did a nice job of taking control of the tips."
Sarah Rudy chipped in five kills for the Hawks, and Jacobson snuffed out five Gilbert attacks.
Libero Hannah Pulis collected nine digs, and Rudy finished with seven.
South Hamilton did pile up 15 aces - Shea VanLangen laced five, Pulis and Carly Swenson four each - but the errors proved more costly.
Holmes says she'll put her team through the rigors in practice today in an attempt to turn the tide on Thursday at Saydel.
"I was disappointed (last night)," Holmes said. "We were ready to play tougher than that, so there are obviously still some mentality things to work through. But we'll be turning a corner (today)."