BLAIRSBURG - In a juggernaut volleyball league like the Iowa Star Conference where there are land mines dotting the area on a weekly basis, it's important to not slip up when victories are achievable.
Northeast Hamilton understood that message perfectly here last night.
The Trojets settled onto the court and took care of business with relative ease, controlling the Meskwaki Settlement School throughout en route to a 3-0 sweep, 25-20, 25-15, 25-13.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Northeast Hamilton senior middle hitter Jennifer Jeffers (8) blasts one of her three kills over Meskwaki Settlement School blocker Shania Kapayou during the second set last night in Blairsburg. The Trojets dismantled the Warriors, 3-0.
NEH head coach Kacey Pruismann is quite aware of the fact that third-ranked (Class 1A) Janesville and No. 4 Tripoli - the defending 1A state champion - are still looming in the distance, but for one night she was able to breathe easy.
"It's so important to get these wins under our belts," she said after her club improved to 4-11 overall and 1-1 in the ISC. "It definitely feels good to go out and take care of business, but I like to play teams that push us a little harder. I'm not worried though because we'll see more teams like that."
The Trojets took the lead for good early in the first and third sets, and controlled the second set throughout.
Attacks - NEH: Kaylee Massman 13-18, 8 kills; Molly Greenfield 10-11, 7 kills; Sarah Elm 6-6, 3 kills; Jennifer Jeffers 11-14, 3 kills; Andi Anderson 13-13, 3 kills; Taylor Olson 2-2; Leah Meyer 1-1.
Blocks - NEH: Greenfield 1.
Digs - NEH: Elm 16, Greenfield 7, Jaidyn Timm 7, Jeffers 6, Anderson 6, Massman 5.
Assists - NEH: Elm 8, Greenfield 5, Jeffers 1, Olson 1.
Serving - NEH: Anderson 14-15, 4 aces; Massman 20-21, 3 aces; Elm 15-16, 3 aces; Timm 11-11; Jeffers 3-3; Greenfield 3-5.
Versatile senior Molly Greenfield moved from setter to hitter quite effectively all night. She dished out seven assists and crammed seven kills down the Warriors' throats. Kaylee Massman cranked eight kills, and Jennifer Jeffers, Sarah Elm and Andi Anderson all slammed down three.
"Molly loves to set, but she's also one of our better hitters," Pruismann said. "And I thought our setters were very consistent. Our girls have really been working hard on placing it in the right spots for the girls and it showed."
Elm distributed eight assists and collected a match-high 16 digs.
NEH helped itself out behind the service line with 10 free points on aces. Massman tallied all three of her aces during an 8-0 spurt late in Set No. 3, and Anderson finished the Warriors off with her fourth ace.
A Jeffers kill from the middle of the court gave the Trojets their first lead at 5-4 in the final stanza.
Meskwaki (1-11, 0-2 ISC) lefty Jaylynn Bear was a serving pest throughout the match. She used a hard drop serve to pile up seven aces, including four in a six-point stretch of Set No. 2 after the Trojets built a 13-point cushion at 20-7.
Bear also had two aces in the first set, and two more during the late stages of the third set to tighten up the score before Massman got on a roll with her serve.
"(Bear) had a real good drop spin on her ball and those always kill us," Pruismann said. "I probably shouldn't say that because now everyone is going to serve a drop spin on us, but our girls struggle with seeing it early. We're working on it though."
NEH will hit the road for another winnable conference match on Thursday when it heads east to take on Waterloo Christian.