Let the games begin

Inexperience not a crutch, Hawks win 2 of 3 on opening night

South Hamilton middle hitter Hailey Diersen celebrates a kill late in the third set against Central Springs on Monday in Story City. The Hawks won the set and the match, 2-1, and took two of three bouts on the night. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

STORY CITY — All things considered, the South Hamilton volleyball team got everything it wanted out of opening night on Monday.

Was it perfect? Far from it. Did the Hawks navigate their way through the non-conference quadrangular unscathed? Nope.

But with a young and inexperienced crew, coupled with two significant injuries that handcuffed the team, head coach Ashley Rosenstiel considered two wins in three matches a success.

“We’re so young and so inexperienced, so to come out and fight the way we did was a really good positive for this team,” Rosenstiel, the Hawks’ second-year coach, said. “If we have that much fight on the first night, imagine how much we’re going to have by October.”

South Hamilton (2-1) kicked off the campaign by rallying in the third set to turn back Central Springs, 2-1 (25-19, 19-25, 15-12). The Hawks maintained the momentum with a 2-0 sweep over Boone (25-16, 25-23) before it dropped a 2-0 decision to Roland-Story (25-7, 25-13) in the nightcap.

South Hamilton sophomore Caleigh Hewitt receives serve in the front row against Central Springs on Monday in Story City. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Among the players that stepped onto the court against Central Springs, only setter Emily Greenfield and middle hitter Hailey Diersen owned significant varsity experience. Hailey Cavan, the team’s most veteran player and top attacker on the perimeter, watched from the bench due to an ankle injury sustained in practice. Cavan took the court in the final two matches as a libero, but Rosenstiel says her leader isn’t quite ready to resume her duties in the front row.

“She’s getting there and in the back row she looked really good,” Rosenstiel said of Cavan.

South Hamilton was also without sophomore hitter Taylor Remsburg, another weapon on the perimeter. She only recently returned to practice due to a wrist injury.

“We’re not healthy right now, but I was really pleased with how we played without Hailey and Taylor,” Rosenstiel said. “We don’t know who our other left-side hitter is going to be, so to get other kids experience, it was very beneficial.”

Without Cavan, it was another Hailey, Diersen, that took the front-row reins. She bashed 20 kills and hit a team-high .293. She laced 10 kills in the victory over Central Springs.

South Hamilton’s Emma Lewis attacks the ball from the perimeter as teammates Hailey Diersen (17), Emily Greenfield (8), Jessica Woodall (18) and Kamryn Vold look on during the first set against Central Springs on Monday in Story City. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Jessica Woodall and Caleigh Hewitt both cashed in on five kills. Greenfield, who moved from attacker to setter this season, handed out 31 of the Hawks’ 36 assists.

Diersen also made 41⁄2 blocks. Woodall and Hewitt combined for 11 service aces. Cavan collected seven digs, three fewer than team-leader Miranda Deppe. Kamryn Vold and Kaylee Oskvig had five each.

The fight Rosenstiel was looking for was apparent against Central Springs. After winning the opening set, South Hamilton fell in 9-0 and 11-1 holes in the second before it mounted a rally. It eventually climbed to within five points on two occasions.

The Panthers maintained the momentum in the third-set race to 15 and eventually forged ahead by seven points, 11-4.

And then Woodall stepped behind the service line and altered the match landscape.

South Hamilton senior setter Emily Greenfield goes to the floor to keep a rally alive during the third set against Central Springs on Monday in Story City. Greenfield had 31 assists to help the Hawks win two of three matches on the night. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

With a hard line-drive serve that Central Springs couldn’t handle, Woodall rattled off five aces in a six-point spree. Her final ace of the match evened the set at 11 and South Hamilton eventually went in front for good, 13-12. A blast from Diersen gave the Hawks match point, and an error by the Panthers one point later ended it.

‘That was awesome to see,” Rosenstiel said of her team’s third-set rally, “especially for such a young team because you never know how they’re going to react in that situation.”

Woodall and Hewitt both smacked three kills in the win over the Panthers. Hewitt also registered four aces in the bout.

South Hamilton traveled to Eagle Grove last night for a non-conference triangular against the Eagles and Southeast Valley.

Monday at Story City

Kaylee Oskvig (6) angles the ball around Central Springs’ Chylee Douglas. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Hamilton Stats

3 matches combined

Attacks — Hailey Diersen 33-41, 20 kills; Jessica Woodall 10-14, 5 kills; Caleigh Hewitt 12-17, 5 kills; Kaylee Oskvig 16-19, 3 4 kills; Emma Lewis 9-9, 2 kills; Emily Greenfield 5-7, 1 kill; Hailey Cavan 1-4, 1 kill.

Blocks — Diersen 41⁄2, Greenfield 11⁄2, Hewitt 11⁄2, Oskvig 1⁄2, Lewis 1⁄2, Woodall 1⁄2.

Digs — Miranda Deppe 10, Cavan 7, Kamryn Vold 5, Oskvig 5, Greenfield 3, Woodall 3.

Assists — Greenfield 31, Woodall 2, Cavan 2, Deppe 1.

Serving — Woodall 10-15, 6 aces; Hewitt 24-25, 5 aces; Greenfield 8-10, 1 ace; Deppe 8-8, 1 ace; Cavan 5-6, 1 ace; Oskvig 14-14; Diersen 2-2.