SHORT AND SWEEP
HEWITT AND REMSBURG CONTROL THE MIDDLE, HAWKS ROLL THROUGH EAGLES IN REGIONALS
JEWELL — When it was focused on the task at hand, the South Hamilton volleyball team made things look easy in its Class 2A Region 4 first-round match Monday night on Coach Jim Marsh Court.
And even when things didn’t go according to plan, the Hawks still found ways to dig out of trouble.
The end result was a short and sweet — or should we say sweep? — 3-0 victory over Eagle Grove in less than an hour that propelled South Hamilton (9-20) into tonight’s regional quarterfinal round against South Hardin (18-14) in Eldora at 7 p.m.
The Hawks rolled early, clawed back from a sluggish start in the second set, and put it on cruise control in the third for a 25-7, 25-17, 25-11 victory. It was South Hamilton’s third victory of the season over Eagle Grove (0-21), which is no easy feat regardless of the opponent.
“We had played them two times and won, but I told the girls that you can’t come into it overlooking them,” South Hamilton head coach Kayla Schaufenbuel, a postseason winner as a coach for the first time, said. “Yes, we’d beat this team two times, but sometimes it’s hard to beat a team three times. They had their moments and caught us off guard a few times, but that was something we just had to prepare ourselves for.”
South Hamilton dominated at net with a .319 kill efficiency. Caleigh Hewitt and Taylor Remsburg combined for 15 kills in the middle of the floor, Zoey Duns handled the left side with seven blasts, and Emma Lewis took care of the right side with six more kills.
Trista Strohman and Paige Evans were the offensive architects with 19 and 11 assists, respectively.
Remsburg was particularly dominant. The junior hit a team-high .600 and set the tone early on with four first-set kills that Eagle Grove had no answer for.
“She just had a good night,” Schaufenbuel said of Remsburg. “She’s a really strong hitter and when the sets are on you see that.”
The Hawks controlled play from the start of the point the majority of the time, and there were numerous instances where points came quickly and in bunches. They rattled off 15 service aces, four of them coming from libero Kaylee Oskvig. Mackenzy Grady and Evans threw in three each, while Breanna Barquist and Strohman both added two.
Oskvig collected a match-high 12 digs as well.
Five of the aces, as well as 12 kills, highlighted a quick and painless first set that saw South Hamilton race out to an early 12-2 lead. Lewis beat the Eagles’ block with a blast and two tip kills during the initial surge, and Evans ripped back-to-back aces later in the set.
The sprint through the opening stanza had its drawbacks, however. The Hawks let their foot off the gas to start the second and piled up six attack errors in the initial 11 points, which allowed Eagle Grove to race out to a 7-4 advantage.
“We kind of just got too complacent and comfortable knowing that we won the first set so easily,” Schaufenbuel said. “We didn’t put 100 percent effort into that second game, but I was happy with how the girls fought back to finish it.”
Back-to-back aces by Barquist, followed by a Duns kill from the perimeter gave South Hamilton its first lead at 13-12, and the Hawks eventually moved in front for good at 16-15 on an Evans ace.
Duns finished off the Eagles in the second set with consecutive kills from the left side.
Grady’s line-drive serve was the catalyst of a 10-0 run early in the third set that put South Hamilton in command. The junior rattled off all three of her aces during the flurry, and Oskvig added three more later in the set.
Hewitt took over in front in the final stanza with five kills.
Advancing to the next round was relatively easy for South Hamilton, put navigating its way out of the quarterfinals will be a challenge. South Hardin has spent time in the rankings this fall and already owns one win over the Hawks — a 2-0 sweep on Sept. 1, 25-12, 25-10.
Schaufenbuel says her team cannot have any lulls this evening if it wants a chance to pull off the upset.
“They are a good team and you can’t dig yourself a hole against a good team,” she said. “We just kind of need to put a complete game together, and if we do that it should be a good match.”
Class 2A Region 4 First Round
South Hamilton 3, Eagle Grove 0
Monday at Jewell
Attacks — Caleigh Hewitt 14-17, 8 kills; Taylor Remsburg 9-10, 7 kills; Zoey Duns 11-15, 7 kills; Emma Lewis 7-7, 6 kills; Jessica Woodall 3-4, 2 kills; Paige Evans 3-4, 2 kills; Mackenzy Grady 3-6, 2 kills; Katie Barkema 2-2, 1 kill; Miranda Deppe 1-1; Jillian Woodall 1-1.
Blocks — Lewis 1⁄2, Hewitt 1⁄2.
Digs — Kaylee Oskvig 12, Hewitt 5, Brenna Barquist 4, Trista Strohman 4, Deppe 3, Remsburg 2, Grady 2, Duns 1, Evans 2, Je. Woodall 1, Kamryn Vold 1.
Assists — Strohman 19, Evans 11, Oskvig 2, Deppe 1, Remsburg 1.
Serving — Oskvig 13-13, 4 aces; Grady 11-11, 3 aces; Evans 17-18, 3 aces; Barquist 5-6, 2 aces; Strohman 6-9, 2 aces; Duns 5-5, 1 ace; Hewitt 10-10; Deppe 2-2.