It may have taken four games, but the Beckman volleyball team took out WaMaC foe Solon Sept. 29 at home, 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, to help move the Blazers to 24-8 on the season.
“Solon was a good match to prepare us for the week, “said coach Todd Troutman. “They are a much better team than their record indicates (11-16) and they pushed us for every point. We had things pretty much in control the first two games but seemed to lose a little bit of focus in game three. Solon kept the pressure on us and was able to get the win. To our credit, we refocused in game four and got out with a win to stay undefeated in conference play.”
The Blazers built a 7-2 lead in the first game using kills from Kiersten Schmitt and Kam Klas. Solon fought back, cutting the lead to 7-5, then 10-5, 11-7 and stayed within three of four points until the lead was 23-19, off a block from Kylee Reuber. The Spartans had a little more fight left, knocking that lead to 23-20 before Klas got a tip to go down and Jenna Lansing pounded the game-winner.
Game two was pretty much a carbon copy, with leads of six or seven common. Schmitt and Lauren Osterhaus combined for a block before Schmitt got a kill and joined Rueber for another block and a 20-13 lead. Two Spartan points, on a block and Blazer error, made it 20-15 but the Blazers wrenched serve back to go up 22-15. Three Spartan errors provided the final Blazer points.
In game three, the largest lead was early, 6-3 on two Schmitt kills. From then on, it was neck-and-neck to a tie at 15. Kennedy Bombei upped the Spartan lead to 17-15 on a kill, then added a block to make it 18-16. Those two points held through the end of the game when Solon got game point off a kill that rebounded off Jadyn Welling.
Solon held a 3-2 lead in game four when serve went to Nell McDermott. With the help of a couple of Blazer blocks, some Spartan errors and two aces, she moved them to a 10-3 advantage, a margin that held till the final moments. Up 21-16, the Blazers gave up a tip kill and missed block to make it 21-18. When Solon hit long and Keeley Schmitt slammed one down, they led 23-18. Two Blazer errors cut that to 23-20, but Solon answered, 24-20. The Spartans cut the mark to 24-23 before Klas came through with the match-ending kill.
Individual stats include: serving –McDermott 27-of-28, Kiersten Schmitt 15-of-16, Makayla Koelker, Welling and Olivia Hogan 13-of-14, Leah Wessels 7-of-7, Klas 6-of-6, Osterhaus 1-of-1; aces — McDermott three, Koelker, Welling and Hogan one; blocks — Kiersten Schmitt nine, Rueber five, Osterhaus three, Klas and Welling one; digs –Hogan 29, Kiersten Schmitt 11, Welling 10, McDermott six, Keeley Schmitt five, Osterhaus and Klas three, Leah Wessels and Lansing two; assists — Koelker 20, Kiersten Schmitt 17, Hogan two.
The Blazers ended their week at the Waverly-Shell Rock tournament, where they went 4-2.
They topped Grundy Center (21-18, 21-16), Nevada (21-18, 21-219), AGWSR (25-14, 25-16) and Mount Vernon (25-14, 17-25, 15-12) and fell to Union (21-17, 16-21, 11-15) and Osage (20-22, 9-21).
“We were in a pool with Grundy Center, Nevada, current 3A #5 Union and #1 in 3A Osage. We knew going in that there were going to be no easy matches as every team there was more than capable of beating us,” said Troutman. “We started the morning with a tough 2-0 win over Grundy Center. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times with some unforced errors but got the job done.
“Our second match, against Union, was an excellent match. We took game one, they took game two and game three was back and forth. Once again some unforced errors were the difference and we felt we let a great chance to upset them get away from us.
“Osage is an outstanding team and game one was some very good volleyball. We came up just short, losing 20-22. In game two, the wheels kind of came off and we got into a stretch where we could do nothing right and they could do nothing wrong.
“Going into the match with Nevada, we knew we had to get the win to salvage our morning. Both teams played very good volleyball and we came out on top winning two very close games.
“We moved to the consolation tournament and played AGWSR in the first round. We just had too much firepower for them and really took control of the match early. It was probably our most complete match of the day.
“That put us into the final against Mount Vernon, the current No. 2 team in 3A. Having played them a little over a week ago we each knew how the other team wanted to play and Mount Vernon came out strong in game one and kind of put it to us for a 25-14 win. It would have been easy at that point to just go through the motions and call it a day, but as I have seen before, these girls just dug in and fought harder.
“We made a couple of changes and continued to stay aggressive and pulled away to win 25-17. Game three was another point by point battle and Nell sealed the win with an ace serve. The difference in the match was our cutting down on our errors. In game one, we had seven hitting errors and only one each in games two and three. It was great to end the day on such a high note.”
Total individual stats: serving — Welling 29-of-29, Koelker 50-of-52, McDermott 46-of-47, Kiersten Schmitt 42-of-44, Klas 50-of-55, Hogan 23-of-28, Wessels 6-of-7; aces — McDermott six, Koelker and Klas five, Kiersten Schmitt three, Hogan two; blocks — Kiersten Schmitt 12, Rueber nine, Klas and Lansing seven, Osterhaus five, Keeley Schmitt one; digs — Hogan 53, Welling 36, Klas 34, Kiersten Schmitt 18, Koelker 17, Wessels, Lansing and Keeley Schmitt four, McDermott two; assists — Koelker 69, Kiersten Schmitt 39, Hogan eight, Klas two, McDermott one.