Small, But Mighty
Cavan packs a punch, Hawks bury Jaguars and Eagles
JEWELL — She’s 5-foot-3 1⁄2, and she punctuates that half-inch as if it’s what gives her that extra pop at net.
News flash: It doesn’t.
What Hailey Cavan lacks in size, she more than compensates with her athleticism, grit and relentless pursuit of the point — elements of her game that were all on display on Coach Jim Marsh Court Tuesday night.
The South Hamilton junior was a force on the perimeter and the Hawks sprinkled in plenty of power in the middle as well en route to a pair of easy victories over Southeast Valley and Eagle Grove.
Leading wire-to-wire in both matches, South Hamilton disposed of the Jaguars, 25-15 and 25-17, and then had an even easier time against the Eagles, 25-8 and 25-9.
Cavan cranked out 14 kills on the night, including nine in the nightcap, and hit .360 to help the Hawks improve to 4-1 after just two nights of the regular season.
“Being short, it’s hard to hit hard all the time, so you have to learn how to hit around the block,” Cavan said. “That’s what I’ve learned over the years.”
Lily Skartvedt, who towers over Cavan at 5-4, did plenty of damage on the outside as well with six kills. The two diminutive figures aren’t your prototypical hitters, but Hawks’ rookie head coach Ashley Rosenstiel says both are more than capable.
“They can really jump and they’re scrappy players,” Rosenstiel said. “They don’t want the ball to die and they’re awesome to have in that back row. They’re doing really well in the front, too.”
South Hamilton hit .244 with 20 kills against Southeast Valley and thrashed Eagle Grove with a .426 kill efficiency. The Hawks made just two errors in 47 chances with 22 kills against the Eagles.
Middle hitter Breanne Diersen, one of the few slivers of height the Hawks possess, thrived in the team’s quick offense. She repeatedly took advantage of quick sets to hammer balls straight down before the block could be set up. She slapped seven kills and didn’t make a single error in 13 attempts.
Katelyn Sogard and Emily Greenfield added five kills each in the two matches, and Sydney Friest finished with three.
“We talk every day how we have the ability to get a kill at every single position at the net on every single rotation,” Rosenstiel said, “and the fact that we can have Breanne do that for us in the middle is huge for us.”
South Hamilton jumped out to 5-0 and 4-0 leads in the two sets against Southeast Valley and had a field day from behind the service line. Skartvedt put up three kills and three aces in the opening set and finished the match with five aces.
Greenfield ended both sets with kills.
It was 7-0 in South Hamilton’s favor before Eagle Grove knew what hit it in the first set and the advantage quickly grew to 11-2 on a Diersen ace. The Hawks spread the wealth around in the stanza with kills from four different players, keyed by Skartvedt with three.
Sogard blasted back-to-back kills to kick off the second set before Eagle Grove was able to claw back and tie it at 2. But a 11-1 South Hamilton run put the match away for good.
Cavan took over midway through the set with a pair of lasers from the left side, followed by two aces. Loose from beginning to end, South Hamilton was never in danger.
“We were pretty loose, but the slower games were kind of hard because we’re a better team with a faster pace,” Cavan said. “But you learn (playing) the OK teams that you have to work as a team. By doing that you’re going to get ready for the better teams like Roland-Story, Nevada and Gilbert.”
Diersen’s versatility led to a team-high 11 digs on the night. Taylor Volkmann and Karlie Busch combined to distribute all 41 assists.
South Hamilton will be back on the court for another triangular today against Madrid and Colo-NESCO in Madrid at 5 p.m.
South Hamilton 2, SE Valley 0
Attacks — Hailey Cavan 7-10, 5 kills; Breanne Diersen 5-5, 4 kills; Emily Greenfield 6-6, 4 kills; Lily Skartvedt 8-11, 4 kills; Sydney Friest 4-5, 2 kills; Katelyn Sogard 6-8, 1 kill.
Blocks — Friest 2, Sogard 1.
Digs — Diersen 7, Skartvedt 5, Cavan 4, Karlie Busch 2, Leah Jacoby 1, Taylor Volkmann 1, Friest 1.
Assists — Volkmann 11, Busch 9.
Serving — Skartvedt 15-15, 5 aces; Busch 10-10, 1 ace; Volkmann 10-10; Cavan 6-6; Diersen 6-6; Friest 1-2.
South Hamilton 2, Eagle Grove 0
Kills — Cavan 15-15, 9 kills; Sogard 9-10, 4 kills; Diersen 8-8, 3 kills; Skartvedt 4-4, 2 kills; Kaylee Oskvig 2-2, 2 kills; Greenfield 6-7, 1 kill; Friest 1-1, 1 kill.
Blocks — Friest 3, Diersen 2, Sogard 1.
Digs — Diersen 4, Jacoby 2, Cavan 1, Volkmann 1.
Assists — Volkmann 14, Busch 7.
Serving — Busch 13-13, 2 aces; Cavan 5-6, 2 aces; Diersen 8-9, 1 ace; Friest 6-6, 1 ace; Skartvedt 5-6, 1 ace; Volkmann 11-11.