Night 1: A little rocky
LYNX, HAWKS COMBINE TO GO 1-5 AT SEASON-OPENING QUAD
STORY CITY — Night No. 1 of the prep volleyball season didn’t go exactly as Webster City and South Hamilton had planned on Monday, but both head coaches saw slivers of sunlight that they think will allow the teams to progress.
The Lynx and Hawks combined to go 1-5 at the Roland-Story quadrangular, the only positive outcome coming when the two teams met.
WCHS handled South Hamilton in the opener, 25-20 and 25-11. But the Lynx were unable to replicate that success in losses to 11th-ranked (Class 3A) Roland-Story and Central Springs. The Norse swept WCHS, 25-28 and 25-11, while the Panthers overcame a Set 1 setback to take the match in three, 17-25, 25-22, 15-13.
South Hamilton was also swept in its final two bouts. Central Springs handled the Hawks, 25-11 and 25-13, while Roland-Story cruised, 25-15 and 25-17.
“There are some growing pains to go along with a group of girls that are new to the varsity team,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “The potential is there and you could see it against Roland-Story where there were some runs that we did some really good things. We can score points against good teams and that’s what’s going to take us further.”
Hawks’ rookie head coach Kayla Schaufenbuel admitted there were some nerves, both from her and her players. But she saw improvement as the evening progressed.
“The thing I’m most proud of from the girls is they improved as the night went on,” she said. “We played a lot better the last (match) against Roland-Story. I think if we could have come out and played that way against the first two (opponents), we could have beat them.”
With a slew of new faces on the court, WCHS (1-2) utilized blistering serves to control South Hamilton. The Lynx connected for nine aces, five coming in the opener that set the tone for the match.
WCHS trailed just once — at 2-1 in the opening set. But a five-point spurt, keyed by three aces from Alley Odland, pushed the Lynx in front 11-5 and South Hamilton never got closer than three points the remainder of the way.
“I thought we served really aggressively,” Howard said. “That’s something that’s going to help us offensively score points.”
Lefty Sierra Rattenborg smacked four kills for the Lynx in the first set and six different players had at least one. Joslin Gourley’s blast from the outside upped the lead to 17-10.
South Hamilton rallied to pull within 21-18 following a kill by Mackenzy Grady and an ace from Kaylee Oskvig. But a service error, followed by an Alayna Finucan kill shifted the momentum back to WCHS for good.
Back-to-back aces by Gourley early in the second set put WCHS in front 7-2, and this time South Hamilton was never able to rally. The lead reached double digits on one of Lexi Nichols’ four blocks. A Rattenborg kill gave WCHS match point, and an error by South Hamilton ended it.
WCHS hit .194 against South Hamilton and received a match-high eight digs from Finucan.
But the Lynx hit just .068 on the night, as the errors piled up in their final two matches. Howard says part of the problem was communication, something that will improve as the players gel.
“The communication, if we had tweaked that in the second match against Roland-Story and in the last match against Central Springs, the outcomes are going to be completely different,” she said. “That’s something we need to work on in practice.”
Roland-Story jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on WCHS before Howard’s club found its footing. The Lynx eventually closed to within 12-9 in the first set, but the Norsemen were able to pull away down the stretch.
Rattenborg led the WCHS attack on the night with 20 kills in the three matches. Finucan, who is making the switch from libero to a front-row position, added 10 more to go along with a team-high 31 digs. Faith Anderson chipped in nine kills and Reese Casey finished with six and seven blocks.
Odland, making her first start at libero, came up with 15 digs. Jenna Miller (13) and Leah Kasch (11) also reached double digits.
Miller distributed 25 assists and Gourley handed out 24.
Statistics for South Hamilton weren’t available as of press time.
The Hawks were back in action last night in Gowrie, and will make their home debut on Thursday against Madrid and Colo-NESCO.
WCHS will head to Algona on Saturday to take part in a Bishop Garrigan quadrangular meet.
Monday at Story City
Webster City Statistics
Attacks — Sierra Rattenborg 34-49, 20 kills; Alayna Finucan 22-30, 10 kills; Faith Anderson 17-24, 9 kills; Reese Casey 16-21, 6 kills; Joslin Gourley 13-15, 2 kills; Lexi Nichols 6-8, 2 kills.
Blocks — R. Casey 7, Nichols 2, Anderson 2, Gourley 2, Rattenborg 2.
Digs — Finucan 31, Alley Odland 15, Jenna Miller 13, Leah Kasch 11, Gourley 9, Rattenborg 5, Nichols 4, Kelly Stoakes 4, Anderson 3.
Assists — Miller 25, Gourley 24.
Serving — Finucan 29-31, 5 aces; Gourley 18-20, 5 aces; Fallon Casey 20-24, 3 aces; Odland 14-16, 3 aces; Miller 21-22, 1 ace; Kasch 7-7; Stoakes 6-7.