WEBSTER CITY - At this stage of the game, it's all about survival.
The Webster City volleyball team did just that last night inside its own gymnasium.
With the setters spreading the wealth around the front row, the Lynx jumped out to a 2-0 lead, had a third-set hiccup, and then disposed of North Central Conference rival Clear Lake in the fourth set, 25-18, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, in a Class 4A Region 3 quarterfinal.
DFJ photo by Tracy Runneberg
Members of the Webster City volleyball team celebrate a kill during last night’s 3-1 win over Clear Lake in a Class 4A Region 3 quarterfinal in the WCHS gym.
WCHS (21-12), which beat Clear Lake (17-15) for the second time in six days, advances to take on the role of David against Goliath Charles City (40-1), the No. 1-ranked team in the state, on Thursday. The semifinal bout from Charles City High School will get underway at 7 p.m.
"From here on out it's one match at a time and you have to play to win that night and you can't look ahead," WCHS head coach Jess Howard said after last night's win.
For the most part, Howard liked what she saw on the floor. But six service miscues caught the coach's attention and she says that can't continue on Thursday.
Attacks - WCHS: Bridget Moriarty 18-23, 8 kills; Morgan Gourley 30-38, 8 kills; Kaylee Schnathorst 24-38, 14 kills; Molly Gilbert 10-13, 8 kills; Hannah Myers 8-8, 4 kills.
Blocks - WCHS: Moriarty 2, Gourley 1, Schnathorst 2, Gilbert 2, Mikaleh McCoy 2.
Digs - WCHS: Kaitlyn Kehoe 8, Monica Maharry 2, Moriarty 5, Gourley 15, Ashley Price 3, Schnathorst 10, Myers 2, Tiffany Constable 13.
Assists - WCHS: Kehoe 22, Price 18.
Serving - WCHS: Kehoe 13-13, 1 ace; Maharry 16-17, 1 ace; Gourley 15-15, 1 ace; Price 16-19, 3 aces; Schnathorst 14-16, 2 aces; Constable 17-17, 3 aces.
"I thought we played a really sound first (set)," she said. "The other three (sets) we had some shaky points and allowed Clear Lake to stay in it a little more than they probably should have. We had a lack of focus when we were back behind the service line; we've got to be more consistent there."
The Lynx did collect 11 service aces, including three from both Tiffany Constable and Ashley Price.
Price and fellow setter Kaitlyn Kehoe dished out 18 and 22 assists, respectively, to five different attackers. All five had at least four kills and four lashed eight or more.
Junior outside hitter Kaylee Schnathorst still led the charge with 14 kills. Senior Bridget Moriarty, junior Morgan Gourley and sophomore Molly Gilbert all had eight.
Moriarty worked the middle of the floor and utilized the quick set to catch the Lions off guard.
"Bridget did a great job," Howard said. "We pulled her in a little tighter to the setter for the quick set and that seemed to throw them off their block a little bit.
"We hadn't planned on changing our offense, but it just worked out that we had some girls that were on (last night) and the setters keyed in on that."
Gourley led the defense with 15 digs. Constable, the Lynx libero, piled up 13 and Schnathorst finished with 10.
Charles City will present WCHS with its toughest challenge of the season. The Comets only loss this season came against No. 1 (2A) Dike-New Hartford, 2-0, on Sept. 22 in Cedar Falls. But Howard says that proves one thing - they can be beaten.
"We've got to focus on that one ... that one team that went up against them and figured out how to beat them," Howard said. "Every team has their weaknesses; it's whether or not we can key in on those weaknesses.
"The pressure is on them, not us. They've got to step up and show they're worthy of that (No. 1 ranking)."
Charles City is led by senior hitter Jesse Sindlinger and her 361 kills, which ranks second in the class. She owns a .469 kill efficiency.