Cowgirls snap Lynx 6-match surge in sweep

WCHS unable to handle CGD?bomber Morgan Middleton

Webster City senior hitter Kamry Dawson (13) hammers the ball from the perimeter during the first set against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows last night inside the WCHS gymnasium. Dawson had a team-high eight kills, but the Cowgirls rolled to a 3-0 sweep of the Lynx, 25-10, 25-18, 25-15. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — From the outside, from the middle, heck, from the back row, it didn’t matter. Morgan Middleton attacked from wherever she wanted and scored seemingly whenever she wanted last night inside the WCHS gymnasium.

North Central Conference, have fun trying to defend her for the next two years.

The Clarion-Goldfield-Dows sophomore was a one-girl wrecking crew during long stretches against Webster City on Senior Night, as Middleton blasted 22 kills in an easy 3-0 sweep for the Cowgirls, 25-10, 25-18, 25-15.

Middleton leads the NCC in kills, now with 327 on the season, and boasts a kill efficiency well over .300. In other words, WCHS isn’t the first team she’s dominated. Nor will it be the last.

“She’s got great ball control, she’s got great defense and she’s quick transitioning to be able to be that strong offensive force,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said of the 6-foot Middleton. “It’s hard to stop her, especially once she’s got some momentum.”

Webster City’s Faith Anderson (15) gets a hand on the ball of CGD sophomore Morgan Middleton’s attack last night. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS (17-15, 3-3 NCC) saw its six-match win streak come to a halt, while CGD (22-8, 5-1 NCC) remained in a stalemate at the top of the league with Iowa Falls-Alden and Humboldt. The three leaders are in line to share the crown unless the Lynx can upset Humboldt next week.

Middleton went on the attack early and often, particularly in the first and third sets that CGD controlled throughout. She blasted three kills in succession to start the match and had seven in the opening stanza. She followed the same path in the third with back-to-back-to-back shots and collected eight in all in the final set.

WCHS libero Alayna Finucan and Zoey Woodle did all they could to thwart the attack, but Middleton sprayed shots to all areas of the court. She went over the block, through the block and around the block. And when the block wasn’t there? It was a missile straight to the ground.

Finucan collected 15 digs and Woodle finished with 13.

“I thought Alayna and Zoey did a good job of getting hands on some of her balls, but it was hard for us to attack,” Howard said. “When you’ve got a player like (Middleton), you go to them a lot. It was smart offensively for them and hard for us defensively.”

Webster City senior Cheyenne Johnson (facing) receives a hug from teammate Makena Keller during Senior Night ceremonies prior to last night’s match against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows inside the WCHS gymnasium. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS was a step or two slow throughout the quick first set that saw CGD score five of the first six points and lead 10-2 before fans even had a chance to settle into their seats. The Lynx eventually trimmed their deficit to 11-7, but could get no closer.

WCHS had just three total kills in the first set.

“We just came out real flat-footed and we weren’t swinging as hard as we normally do,” Howard said.

The Lynx led early on in the second set, keyed by the team’s only service ace of the night from Morgan Gallentine. CGD took the lead for good at 11-10, but four times WCHS closed to within one point. The Cowgirls eventually went on a 4-0 spurt to build a 21-16 advantage.

“In Game 2 we came out and played more aggressively and played with them,” Howard said. “We have to grow from this and take what we did well and improve on what we didn’t do well.”

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Kamry Dawson led the WCHS attack with eight kills and Adalie Schwandt smacked six with just two miscues. But the Lynx had only 23 kills as a team, just one more than Middleton’s total.

Gallentine handed out a team-high 12 assists. Cynthia Whitehill added nine more.

WCHS will head to the Mason City Invite on Saturday.

Webster City 3, CGD 0

Thursday at Webster City

Webster City Statistics

Attacks — Adalie Schwandt 10-12, 6 kills; Kamry Dawson 26-31, 8 kills; Grace Hoversten 16-18, 3 kills; Haley Foster 4-4, 2 kills; Zoey Woodle 9-11, 3 kills; Faith Anderson 2-3, 1 kill.

Blocks — Dawson 1, Hoversten 2, Woodle 1.

Digs — Atlanta Hopp 5, Cynthia Whitehill 1, Schwandt 3, Dawson 2, Foster 3, Alayna Finucan 15, Morgan Gallentine 2, Woodle 13, Anderson 2.

Assists — Whitehill 9, Gallentine 12, Finucan 1.

Serving — Hopp 7-8; Whitehill 7-8; Schwandt 5-6; Finucan 6-6; Gallentine 8-9, 1 ace; Woodle 7-7.