Lynx crisp in win over Ballard, falter in loss to NP

Dawson and Schwandt provide power at net, Finucan the stability in back

Led by Adalie Schwandt (14), the Webster City volleyball players celebrate a block during the second set against Ballard on Tuesday. WCHS dropped the Bombers, 2-0, and then fell to North Polk, 2-0, in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

HUXLEY — It’s a marathon, not a sprint, which is why Webster City head volleyball coach Jess Howard accepts the fact that consistency will eventually find its way into her huddle.

Emphasis on the word eventually.

The celebrations were frequent and the smiles were wide when WCHS was on the attack Tuesday night. And when the Lynx were back on their heels, it was a different story altogether.

The result? A solid effort, followed by a back to the drawing board performance.

WCHS made the trek home from a triangular with a split, as it overcame a slow start to sweep Ballard 2-0, 25-22 and 25-14. However, problems with serve receive and a negative kill efficiency crushed any chances the Lynx had in their nightcap against North Polk, as the Comets pulled away for a 2-0 victory, 25-14 and 25-21.

WCHS sophomore Faith Anderson blasts an attack from the middle of the floor during the opening set against Ballard on Tuesday in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“We just have to learn from this and grow from it for our match (tonight at home against Algona),” Howard said.

Kamry Dawson and Adalie Schwandt combined for 15 kills and a .462 efficiency against Ballard (0-4), as WCHS (3-4) hit .195 as a team. Dawson punished the Bombers with eight kills and Schwandt nearly matched her with seven.

It took the Lynx almost the entire opening set to find their rhythm. Ballard scored the initial three points and eventually built its lead to as big as six points while Howard used multiple timeouts to calm her team down.

Trailing 18-13, the Lynx scored six of the next seven points to knot the set for the first time at 19. It was 21-all when WCHS moved in front for the first time on a block by Dawson in the middle of the floor. Another block, this time by Schwandt, three points later gave the Lynx a set point and they finished off the rally courtesy of a Ballard attack error.

Changing the tempo made the difference, Howard said.

Webster City senior Kamry Dawson delivers one of her eight kills in a 2-0 sweep of Ballard on Tuesday in Huxley. She cranked out three more in the Lynx 2-0 loss to North Polk in the nightcap of the triangular. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“In the beginning of that game we really let them control the tempo and they really slowed things down,” she said. “But the girls did a good job of having perseverance and making sure they came back and attacked, and they didn’t give up when we got behind by six points. It was good to see them have that fight and then come back in that second game and really own it.”

A 9-0 run behind the potent serving of Cynthia Whitehill turned a tight second set into a blowout. It was 15-6 before Ballard was able to shut Whitehill down and the Bombers never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Dawson and Schwandt combined for five second-set kills.

Grace Hoversten collected four blocks in the win, while Zoey Woodle added a team-high seven digs to go along with two kills. Whitehill (11) and Morgan Gallentine (seven) combined for 18 assists.

WCHS scored the first point of the match against North Polk (5-3), but never led again. The Comets had enough weapons at net and controlled play from behind the service line to control the opening set. The Lynx connected for just five kills in the stanza.

Lynx freshman libero Alayna Finucan receives a serve on Tuesday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“They’re a good team, but I don’t think by any means that they overpowered us in any aspect besides serving,” Howard said of North Polk. “We just let them have too many runs. If we can cut those runs down … it could be a completely different outcome.”

WCHS didn’t go down quietly in the final set though, even after the Comets led by six points late and appeared to be on their way to a runaway.

Trailing 19-13, the Lynx put together a 7-2 spurt to even it up at 21. A 5-0 surge behind the serve of Gallentine got the ball rolling and a Hoversten swat forced the tie.

But with Dawson and Schwandt both relegated to the bench during their back-row rotations, WCHS didn’t have the firepower at net to maintain the advantage. North Polk rattled off the final four points to complete the sweep.

“We’ve got to get to that mindset where we have front row players having confidence in themselves no matter who’s up there,” Howard said.

Webster City’s Grace Hoversten (8) and Faith Anderson look to block the tip of Ballard’s Cecilia Christensen (16) on Tuesday in Huxley. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Schwandt led the way with six kills and Dawson finished with three against the Comets.

After smacking 18 kills against just 10 attack errors against Ballard, WCHS connected for just 13 kills with 17 miscues against North Polk.

Freshman Alayna Finucan led WCHS defensively with 10 digs in the finale and she finished the night with 15 in all. Playing well above her years, she gave the Lynx a steadying influence in the back row.

“She’s got great instincts on the ball and she gets the ball where it needs to be,” Howard said of Finucan. “She’s there backing (her teammates) up and they know she’s there, and we look for her to continue to improve.”

Whitehill delivered eight assists and Gallentine finished with four against the Comets.

The North Central Conference opener for WCHS and Algona will be in Webster City this evening. Varsity play is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Webster City 2, Ballard 0

Attacks — Kamry Dawson 13-14, 8 kills; Adalie Schwandt 10-12, 7 kills; Zoey Woodle 4-7, 2 kills; Grace Hoversten 2-6, 1 kill; Faith Anderson 2-2.

Blocks — Hoversten 4, Schwandt 3, Dawson 2, Woodle 1.

Digs — Woodle 7, Alayna Finucan 5, Cynthia Whitehill 4, Morgan Gallentine 3, Atlanta Hopp 2, Haley Foster 1, Schwandt 1, Dawson 1.

Assists — Whitehill 11, Gallentine 7, Finucan 1.

Serving — Whitehill 12-12, 1 ace; Finucan 9-9, 1 ace; Woodle 10-11; Schwandt 7-7; Dawson 6-7; Gallentine 4-4.

North Polk 2, Webster City 0

Attacks — Schwandt 13-14, 6 kills; Dawson 10-14, 3 kills; Hoversten 8-11, 2 kills; Woodle 6-12, 2 kills; Anderson 4-6; Foster 1-2.

Blocks — Dawson 2, Schwandt 1.

Digs — Finucan 10, Woodle 9, Dawson 4, Gallentine 4, Whitehill 1, Schwandt 1, Hoversten 1.

Assists — Whitehill 8, Gallentine 4, Finucan 2.

Serving — Woodle 6-6, 1 ace; Dawson 9-9; Gallentine 8-9; Schwandt 5-5; Whitehill 4-4; Finucan 3-3.