Warrior volleyball team extends winning streak to five games

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Lexi Loan contributed six kills in Central’s win over West Central last week. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Makayla Vlazny digs a ball against the Blue Devils. She had 18 total in the Warrior victory.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register

 

The winning continued as the Central volleyball team entered Upper Iowa Conference play last week. The Warriors took down both West Central and Clayton Ridge, to extend their winning streak to five games. 

 

“The team is playing well together. They have really been working hard and have really come together as a team. They have started to realize they can play with any team if they play up to their abilities,” said coach Kelly Erickson. 

 

This success started on the road], as the Warriors earned a hard-fought, 25-22 first set win over the Blue Devils, before stumbling a bit in a 26-24 second set loss. But rather than succumb to the setback, Central rebounded in fine form, winning the next two 25-23 and 25-18, to take the match 3-1. 

 

“We didn’t let the loss of the second set get us down. We knew we could beat this team, after beating them in the tournament on Saturday. Our key was to keep hitting the ball. And in this match, we had multiple people who helped on offense,” Erickson said. 

 

Help came from Lizzie Royer, who continued to pile on the assists, with 34 more against West Central. Aly Feickert and Brooklyn Amsden dominated in the kills stat line, with Feickert earning 13 and Amsden 11. Gracie Cummer chipped in eight kills, Lexi Loan six and Tori Sylvester five. 

 

Defensively, the Warriors had five blocks: two from Sylvester and one apiece by Loan, Cummer and Feickert. The team also finished with 108 digs, led by Feickert with 25. Makayla Vlazny picked up 18, Loan 16 and Sylvester 13, while Royer added 11 and Oakley Armstrong finished with 10. 

 

From the service line, the Warriors hit nine aces. Loan and Feickert led the effort with three each, and Sylvester, Armstrong and Royer each smacked one apiece. The team finished with a 93.9 percent serve efficiency. 

 

The Warriors were back at home for the Sept. 15 match versus Clayton Ridge. Although they dropped the first set 26-24, they rallied to win the next three convincingly, by scores of 25-14, 25-18 and 25-18. 

 

“On Thursday, we had a tough match against a good Clayton Ridge team. Because of their height, in practice on Wednesday, we really worked on blocking and playing the ball off a block. These two things really helped us in the game, as we did a much better job of blocking,” Erickson said. 

 

The offense ran through Royer, who finished with 23 of the 24 total assists. Of Central’s 24 kills, Loan had eight, Sylvester six and Feickert five. 

 

Royer also made her presence felt on the defensive side of the ball, adding two blocks to the stat sheet as well as 20 digs. Cummer led the team in blocks with five, while Sylvester grabbed two and Katelyn Scherf and Feickert had one each. Sylvester was tops in digs, with 24, followed by Feickert with 23, Loan with 17 and Vlazny with 15. Armstrong chipped in eight. 

 

Additionally, the Warriors finished the game with six aces. Sylvester hit two and Cummer, Armstrong, Scherf and Feickert each snagged one. The team finished at 94.9 percent efficiency. 

 

“We continue to work on all aspects of the game. Our passing continues to improve as well as our serving, as we knew that these were things we needed to really target in practice from the beginning of the season,” Erickson said. “We played a lot of tough teams in tournaments, which really helped prepare us for our conference games. We have played many more games than any other team in our conference, and I feel that gives us the edge in those close matches.”

 

According to Erickson, a big part of Central’s success so far is that the players are having fun while playing. 

 

“I get excited with how we are playing and that helps the team and overall vibe on the floor,” she said. 

 

The Warriors take time off from conference play this week to participate in a tournament at Decorah on Sept. 24, where they will likely play Clayton Ridge and  Jesup, who has defeated the Warriors twice this season. They will also potentially get a look at Kee, Postville and MFL MarMac, all upcoming conference opponents.

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