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FINUCAN SMOTHERS ’DOGS WITH SERVE, LYNX ROLL IN 3

Rattenborg, Anderson provide balance up front; WCHS hits .689

WCHS junior Alayna Finucan rips one of her 10 aces during a 24-0 run that spanned the second and third sets against H-D/CAL last night. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Alayna Finucan is a fierce competitor, but it reached the point where even she began to feel bad for Hampton-Dumont/CAL during last night’s North Central Conference volleyball match inside the WCHS gymnasium.

“At one point I looked at (Webster City head coach) Jess (Howard) and said, ‘Jess, I don’t know what to do.’ All of the (Hampton-Dumont/CAL) parents were mad and I was just serving,” Finucan, a Lynx junior said after the Lynx swept the Bulldogs in three sets 25-11, 25-9, 25-11. “Their coach was screaming at them and they were all just super uptight.”

It was Finucan’s fault.

Up a set, WCHS owned an 11-9 edge when Finucan stepped behind the service line in the second stanza. And that’s where she stayed for a long, long … long time.

Finucan served out the final 14 points of the second set and the opening nine points of the third. The 23-point onslaught included 10 aces, as Hampton-Dumont/CAL was defenseless against her jump serve. The Bulldogs couldn’t handle it when she sent rockets toward the back row, and they weren’t even in the same zip code when she went with the soft serve in the front.

WCHS sophomore Sierra Rattenborg (15) smacks one of her match-high nine kills in a 3-0 victory over Hampton-Dumont/CAL last night. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I realized how long it was,” Finucan, who finished 27 of 29 with the 10 aces as well as a match-high 14 digs, said.

WCHS head coach Jess Howard said Finucan’s one-girl blitz had Hampton-Dumont/CAL guessing — a position no team wants to be in. And it carried from the second to the third set.

“It really set the tone for that third game when they saw that she was going back to serve again,” Howard said. “She kept it in play and when you’re a super aggressive server like that, sometimes it gets away from you. Whether it was short or long, they had no idea what was coming at them.”

The quick win was exactly what WCHS (4-5, 1-1 NCC) needed. It was on the receiving end of a similar blowout seven days earlier against third-ranked (Class 3A) Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, a loss the players had plenty of time to chew on.

“It felt really good to actually play as a team and we really hit the ground running after Clarion,” senior hitter Faith Anderson, who bashed eight kills, said. “(The CGD loss) wasn’t the best note to start (the conference season) on, but we’re only going to go up from here.”

WCHS senior Faith Anderson (11) goes around the block to bash one of her six first-set kills against Hampton-Dumont/CAL last night. She had eight in the Lynx 3-0 North Central Conference sweep. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WCHS laced 36 kills and hit a staggering .689 as a team — a number that Howard hasn’t seen in a long time, perhaps ever during her time in charge of the program. Southpaw Sierra Rattenborg hammered nine kills primarily from the left side, and Joslin Gourley followed Anderson with six. Lexi Nichols added five and three blocks, and Livia Kasch checked in with four more kills.

The Lynx had just 12 kills in last week’s loss to the Cowgirls, but surpassed that total in the opening set last night. Anderson, Rattenborg and Kasch combined for nine to push WCHS out to a 15-5 lead, and Gourley swatted back-to-back kills from the right side later in the set to increase the cushion.

Anderson racked up six kills in the first set alone.

“It’s really good to start like that in the first set and it really carried through,” Anderson said. “It definitely boosted us up a lot.”

Hampton-Dumont/CAL briefly righted the ship in the second set. The Bulldogs (1-2, 0-2 NCC) led 5-2 before Leah Kasch stole the momentum with the first of seven service aces for the Lynx during the game. A Rattenborg kill gave WCHS a 10-9 lead and, more importantly, turned the ball over to Finucan behind the service line. It just happened to be a rotation where Anderson found herself on the bench and she had no idea she’d get such a long rest.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I’d rather be out on the court, but it’s a lot of fun seeing everyone succeed,” she said. “It was definitely an extended stay.”

Finucan laced four aces during the initial nine points of the third set and Hampton-Dumont/CAL never got closer than eight the remainder of the way. Nichols thumped four of her kills in the set and Gourley added three more.

“We just did a good job of playing at our level all night,” Howard said. “The back row got the ball to our setters and then our hitters made the most of those sets.”

Gourley distributed 21 assists and Jenna Miller had nine to go along with five digs. Kelly Stoakes came up with six digs.

WCHS will be in action on Saturday at the South Hardin Invite in Eldora. Play is set to begin at 9 a.m.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Webster City 3, H-D/CAL 0

Thursday at Webster City

Attacks — Sierra Rattenborg 10-12, 9 kills; Faith Anderson 9-9, 8 kills; Joslin Gourley 6-7, 6 kills; Lexi Nichols 5-5, 5 kills; Livia Kasch 4-4, 4 kills; Reese Casey 3-5, 2 kills; Jenna Miller 3-3, 2 kills.

Blocks — Nichols 3, Rattenborg 1, Casey 1.

Digs — Alayna Finucan 14, Kelly Stoakes 6, Miller 5, Gourley 3, Alley Odland 2, Rattenborg 1.

Assists — Gourley 21, Miller 9, Finucan 2.

Serving — Finucan 27-29, 10 aces; Gourley 12-12, 1 ace; Odland 11-2; Leah Kasch 8-8, 1 ace; Miller 8-8; Stoakes 5-5.

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