Warrior winning streak ends with 1-5 stretch at Decorah tournament

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central volleyball team took a week off from conference play and competed in the Decorah Tournament on Saturday, which they entered riding a five-game winning streak. That streak was quickly brought to an end, however, as the Warriors lost the first game and managed a single win in the six total games they played, bringing their season record to 9-20. 


Central started the tournament off with a 21-11 set victory over Clayton Ridge, but faltered in the next two sets, dropping them 21-19 and 15-10 to lose the match 2-1. 


The offense ran through Lizzie Royer, who had 17 assists. Lexi Loan secured six kills, while Katelyn Scherf had four and Tori Sylvester and Aly Feickert chipped in three. 


On defense, the team amassed six blocks, with Loan, Sylvester and Gracie Cummer getting two apiece. Feickert led the Warriors with 26 digs, followed by Sylvester with 16 and Loan with 11. As a team, Central combined for 74 total digs. 


The Warriors also showed improvement from the service line, with a serve efficiency of 90 percent. They finishing with seven aces, including Scherf with three and Sylvester with two. 


“We didn’t play bad. We just were not playing our best. We had a lot more attack errors in this match than I would like us to have,” said coach Kelly Erickson.   


The Warriors played Jesup next, battling to a hard-fought, two-set loss, dropping both sets 22-20. 


Royer had all 11 assists, and Loan led in kills with four. Cummer added three more kills, while Sylvester and Scherf had two kills each. 


The defense produced seven blocks, with Sylvester hitting three of them. They also accumulated 50 digs, led by Feickert with 13, Loan with 11 and Mackayla Vlazny with eight. 


Additionally, the Warriors were highly efficient serving the ball, finishing with a 95.1 percent rating and three aces. Two were from by Loan. 


“Even though we lost against a very good Jesup team, we lost two very close sets. Again, in this set, we were struggling to get the kill,” Erickson said. “We did a great job of serving, only missing two serves, but our serve reception wasn’t as good as I would like it to be.” 


In the next game, Central played South Winneshiek, winning in straight sets by scores of 21-16 and 21-14. It was the team’s lone victory on the day. 


In a rare occurrence, Royer didn’t have all the assists, finishing with 14 of the total 15. Feickert claimed the other one. The Warriors were more efficient in kills, committing just six errors, while hitting 15 kills total. Loan and Feickert led in the category with five each, followed by Cummer and Scherf with two apiece. 


The defense finished with three blocks—two from Sylvester and one by Feickert—and 49 digs. Three players were in double digits: Feickert with 14, Loan with 11 and Sylvester with 10. 


Central also put up two aces, both from Loan, and had a serve efficiency of 90.2 percent.


“We played really well to beat them in two sets. We didn’t have as many hitting errors this match, but we still were not getting as many kills as we would like,” Erickson said.  


The Warriors next took on a tough Decorah team, and in the words of Erickson, despite losing in two, the team “played really well.” Central lost the sets by scores of 21-16 and 21-11. 


Royer finished with six of the nine total assists, as Loan, Cummer and Brooklyn Amsden got in on the action with one assist each. It was a team effort on kills as well, with five players responsible for the nine total. Loan and Sylvester had three each. 


The Warrior defense put up four blocks, two from Cummer and two by Royer, while finishing with 35 digs. Feickert topped the list with 11 and Sylvester earned 10. 


Finally, the Warriors served four aces, two from Loan and one apiece from Cummer and Scherf. They ended slightly down in serve efficiency, at 89.3 percent. 


The Warriors fought hard against Riceville in the fifth match, losing the first set 21-16, before taking the second 21-19. The third was a 15-11 loss, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 match victory. 


Royer tallied 19 assists, and Loan led in kills with eight of the 19 hit by the team. 


The Central defense proved stout with six blocks across five players, led by Sylvester with two while Loan, Cummer, Royer and Scherf finished with one each. Loan and Sylvester accounted for 24 of the team’s 50 digs, followed by Royer with eight and Vlazny with seven. 


The serving was down a bit, with the Warriors hitting just two aces and managing an 86 percent efficiency. One of the aces was courtesy of Cummer and the other by Sylvester. 


“In the game against Riceville, we had a lot of attack errors, as well as serve errors. I don’t know if this was due to being tired after playing all day and a long week of homecoming festivities,” Erickson said.   


In the final game, the Warriors lost to Kingsland in both sets, 21-10 and 22-20. Statistically, it was the worst match of the day, as the offense managed just seven assists, all from Royer. Central also picked up just seven kills. 


Defensively, the Warriors netted 47 digs, led by Loan with 10. Eight apiece came from Sylvester, Royer and Feickert. 


But it was serving where the Warriors struggled most, compiling just two aces by Sylvester and Feickert and ending the game with a 62.5 percent efficiency. 


“Our serve receive was not very good. And we again only had a total of seven kills. We had more kill errors than we did kills. So, going forward this week, we will be really working on our offense and maximizing the players we have and trying to increase our kill efficiency,” Erickson said. “We ended the day against Riceville and Kingsland. We lost to both, but we could have won if we played like I know we can.”


The Warriors return to conference play this week, and Erickson believes the team is well positioned to compete for the top spot in the conference, despite the recent tournament losses.


“I still believe all our work on the weekends has helped us to perform well against our conference opponents,” she said. “I believe we can compete with any team in the conference. If the girls play their game and at their level, I believe we can come out at the top of the conference. And if we do, this will only give the team the confidence we will need going into postseason play.” 


The road to the top begins at Postville on Sept. 27. The Warriors will then welcome Kee on Sept. 29.

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