One step at a time

WEBSTER CITY – The draw could have been tougher, at least early on anyway. Now the Webster City volleyball team simply has to take advantage of its good fortune.

Coming off a regular season in which it batted .500, Webster City (14-14) will open up the postseason this evening with a Class 4A Region 1 quarterfinal-round match against Storm Lake (3-22) inside the WCHS gymnasium at 7 p.m.

The winner will advance to next Tuesday’s semifinal, also in Webster City, against Boone (11-23).

The Lynx haven’t faced Storm Lake this season, but they do own a victory over Boone. If they can take care of business on their home court tonight and next week, it would put the squad in position to contend for a spot in the state tournament at the regional final.

But WCHS head coach Jess Howard isn’t about to get ahead of herself. She knows the Lynx can’t worry about Boone until they dispose of Storm Lake.

“If you based things off records and rankings then you wouldn’t even have to play the matches,” Howard said. “This is definitely a situation where whichever team shows up to play is going to come out on top.”

Coming off an 0-4 day against four ranked teams at Saturday’s Johnston Invite, WCHS is ready to start fresh. Howard thinks her team has grown over the last two months and she hopes that will materialize in the play this evening.

“We’ve grown in a lot of areas of our game and as a coach that’s what you want to see your teams do,” she said. “Defensively we’ve come out really strong in our last two outings and offensively, we’re going to have to play our tempo and make sure we keep our offense quick.”

Senior hitters Taylor Schnathorst and Olivia Myers have produced a large majority of the offense for the Lynx, who hit .131 as a team. Schnathorst racked up 232 kills during the regular season and Myers, who sits on 198, should easily surpass 200 against the Tornadoes.

Schnathorst also has accumulated 223 digs, second on the team behind only senior libero Gianna Gourley, who has 345 to her credit. Gourley also has a team-high 35 service aces, while Courtney Lampman has 30 aces and 305 assists.

WCHS should be able to take advantage of a Storm Lake team that is prone to errors and doesn’t possess a significant threat at net. No player on the team has hit triple digits in kills; Ariel Bozonie leads the way with 78, while Rachel Bozonie has 61.

Still, Howard says the Tornadoes can hit with authority if they’re allowed the opportunities.

“They’ve got girls that can hit the ball hard, but it seems like they struggle with consistency at times,” Howard said. “If we can continue to attack against them, we should be able to come out successfully.”

WCHS and Storm Lake have three common opponents. WCHS beat Fort Dodge St. Edmond and Algona Garrigan, and dropped a three-set match to eighth-ranked (3A) and North Central Conference champion Humboldt. Storm Lake was handed losses by all three teams.

The other side of the Region 1 bracket will pit LeMars (20-14) and Spencer (7-23) against one another in a quarterfinal tonight. Fourth-ranked Sioux City Heelan (30-8) will await the winner in the semifinal round.

The regional final is set for Monday, Oct. 31 and will be hosted by the highest remaining seeded team.