Ouf of system

Hawks no match for Rotto sisters, No. 7 Gilbert

South Hamilton senior setter Makayla Cavan (13) pushes the ball to the other side of the court as Sydney Friest (11) and Breanne Diersen serve as decoys during Tuesday’s match against No. 7-ranked (Class 3A) Gilbert in Jewell. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

JEWELL — For 16 points, the South Hamilton volleyball team hung with one of the best in Class 3A on Coach Jim Marsh Court Tuesday night.

But the next 57 points? Forgettable.

And eventually it was good night, Hawks.

Seventh-ranked Gilbert took South Hamilton’s best shot early in the first set of their Heart of Iowa Conference showdown and then stepped on the gas. The Tigers went on an 18-4 flurry to take the opener with ease, dominated the second set and then fended off a valiant bunch of Hawks to claim the victory in a sweep, 25-13, 25-10, 25-23.

The height, athleticism and power that Gilbert (18-9, 4-0 HOIC) displayed at net flustered South Hamilton (17-6, 1-3 HOIC), which was uncharacteristically subpar on the attack. The Hawks hit just .052 with 18 kills as a team compared to a .279 kill efficiency and 35 kills for the visitors.

South Hamilton’s Lily Skartvedt is forced to bump the ball over the net during a rally against Gilbert on Tuesday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

But it wasn’t just in the front row where the Hawks struggled. They also had trouble with serve receive, communication and a laundry list of other things that head coach Rusty Wintermote clicked off following the match.

“Serve receive and blocking, to me that’s what it came down to,” he said. “Our serve receive was horrible, it just flat out was. And then we weren’t blocking; we didn’t get very many touches. There was also zippo communication. There were lots of times where two girls were coming together to make a pass because nobody was talking.”

South Hamilton was without senior libero Katie Johnson, who watched with a sizable bag of ice strapped to her shoulder following an injury that occurred over the weekend.

Perhaps the biggest problem was that the Hawks didn’t have the Rotto sisters, Gilbert’s senior and freshman duo that was dominant throughout the bout.

Inga Rotto, the veteran, ripped off a match-high 13 kills while hitting .550. Thea Rotto, the rookie, swung away from the perimeter and laced nine kills. Jamie Brenner, another senior, smacked six kills.

South Hamilton’s Taylor Volkmann (left) and Chloe Barkema converge on the ball as they attempt to keep a rally alive against Gilbert on Tuesday in Jewell. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Hamilton’s strategy was to serve shallow to force short Gilbert passes and it worked for a while. And then the Rotto sisters took over.

“They are good,” Wintermote said. “Inga has the ability to hit hard and down … the younger Rotto girl is going to be a good one, too. She hits with the same velocity, she just doesn’t have the same control right now.”

Inga Rotto rattled off six kills in the opening set; the majority of them came after the Tigers went in front for good at 10-9. Gilbert put together a 7-0 spurt and increased it to 11-1 for an 18-8 lead on a slam by Thea Rotto. Two more kills by the Gilbert freshman made it 22-12 and a few points later it ended on a block by Inga Rotto and Bree Richard.

Gilbert continued to pour it on in the second set by scoring the initial seven points. The margin eventually reached 10-1, as the Rotto sisters combined for six kills during the stretch.

South Hamilton found it difficult just to get the ball over the net and past the Gilbert front row wall. Anna Moss had all three of the Hawks’ kills in the set, and they all came within a four-point stretch midway through.

South Hamilton attacker Breanne Diersen (right) attempts to go around Gilbert blockers Inga Rotto (10) and Sarah Hinners (11) on Tuesday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Moss smacked a team-high seven kills in the loss. She also led the Hawks in digs with seven.

There were seven ties and four lead changes in the final set. South Hamilton was able to find its offensive rhythm and it resulted in more kills than during the first two sets combined.

“I don’t know if the close score of that (set) was an indication of them or an indication of us,” Wintermote said. “I’d like to hope we got a little hustle in there and got some points we deserved.”

Hailey Cavan put down a dink kill to give the Hawks a 22-20 advantage, but Gilbert answered with four consecutive points to find itself at match point. Inga Rotto walloped a kill on a short set from the middle to put the Tigers in front 23-22 and Thea Rotto followed with a slam from the left side for a 24-22 lead.

South Hamilton received two kills each from Cavan, Lily Skartvedt and Taylor Ratzke. Sydney Friest had a pair of blocks.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Richard distributed 30 assists for the Tigers, while Taylor Volkmann led the Hawks with nine. Richard also cranked out four service aces.

South Hamilton will be off until Tuesday when it will hit the road to take on Prairie City-Monroe.

Gilbert 3, South Hamilton 0

Tuesday at Jewell

Attacks — GIL: Inga Rotto 18-20, 13 kills; Thea Rotto 20-24, 9 kills; Jamie Brenner 11-13, 6 kills; Taylor Grinley 4-6, 2 kills; Sarah Hinners 9-10, 2 kills; Bree Richard 5-5, 2 kills; Nessa Johnson 2-2, 1 kill. SH: Anna Moss 11-13, 7 kills; Chloe Barkema 5-8, 4 kills; Lily Skartvedt 7-11, 2 kills; Taylor Ratzke 6-10, 2 kills; Hailey Cavan 3-4, 2 kills; Breanne Diersen 10-10, 1 kill; Sydney Friest 1-3.

Blocks — GIL: Richard 1, I. Rotto 1. SH: Friest 2, Moss 1, Barkema 1, Diersen 1.

Digs — GIL: Megan Goodhue 19, Isabelle Johnson 9, Richard 8, Sidney Ayers 7, I. Rotto 6, T. Rotto 4, Brenner 2, Grinley 1, N. Johnson 1. SH: Moss 7, Diersen 6, Skartvedt 5, H. Cavan 4, Ratzke 2, Taylor Volkmann 1.

Assists — GIL: Richard 30, Hinners 1, N. Johnson 1, I. Rotto 1. SH: Volkmann 9, Makayla Cavan 6, Karlie Busch 1, Skartvedt 1.

Serving — GIL: Richard 16-16, 4 aces; Ayers 13-13, 2 aces; Goodhue 18-19; N. Johnson 10-11; T. Rotto 5-7; I. Rotto 5-6; Brenner 0-1. SH: H. Cavan 6-8, 1 ace; Moss 6-6; Skartvedt 5-6; Volkmann 5-5; Katelyn Sogard 4-4; M. Cavan 3-3; Friest 2-3; Diersen 2-4; Busch 1-1; Leah Jacoby 1-1; Emily Greenfield 0-1.