BLAIRSBURG - Kacey Pruismann tried to be the tough coach on Saturday when her Northeast Hamilton volleyball team fell into a funk at the Dunkerton Invitational.
It didn't work and the Trojets lost two of three matches.
So when she watched her team's 2-0 lead over Iowa Star Conference rival Dunkerton dissolve here last night, she opted for a different approach.
"I was working on keeping my composure," Pruismann said. "I went with the spirit and heart and all that fuzzy stuff this time."
Good call, coach. That approach worked.
After losing the third and fourth sets by a combined 21 points, the Trojets regained their composure and the advantage, as they went on to drop the Red Raiders in the deciding fifth set to win 25-22, 25-22, 15-25, 14-25, 15-8.
Kills - NEH: Molly Greenfield 7, Sarah Elm 4, Jennifer Jeffers 3, Kaylee Massman 7, Taylor Olson 3, Andi Anderson 12.
Blocks - NEH: Massman 1, Anderson 2.
Digs - NEH: Greenfield 17, Elm 15, Jeffers 15, Massman 10, Olson 7, Jaidyn Timm 7, Anderson 9.
Assists - NEH: Greenfield 5, Elm 18, Massman 1, Olson 1.
Serving - NEH: Greenfield 18-18, 2 aces; Elm 19-19, 2 aces; Jeffers 13-14, 4 aces; Massman 22-24, 2 aces; Timm 2-3; Olson 5-7, 1 ace; Anderson 7-11, 1 ace.
It was a bit of redemption for NEH (8-14, 4-2), which was on the other end of a five-set marathon against Dunkerton (3-17, 1-5 ISC) a season ago.
"We all made team goals at the beginning of the season and this - beating Dunkerton - was a major one because of last year," Pruismann said. "We really wanted to beat them because I knew we'd be similar teams."
Freshman Andi Anderson hammered 12 kills, and Kaylee Massman and Molly Greenfield both had seven in the victory. Sarah Elm chipped in four, and Jennifer Jeffers and Taylor Olson both had three.
Elm also distributed 18 assists and moved around the court for 15 digs - one of four players with double-digit dig totals. The others were Greenfield (17), Jeffers (15) and Massman (10).
NEH helped itself out behind the service line with 12 aces, led by Jeffers with four.
And now comes the most difficult stretch of the season for the Trojets - back-to-back matches against No. 4-ranked and four-time defending state champion (Class 1A) Tripoli and No. 3 (1A) Janesville.
NEH will be on the road against the Panthers on Thursday before returning home to host the Wildcats next Tuesday.
"Nothing is impossible," Pruismann said. "We are going to be looking for small victories in those matches, but you never know what can happen."