The Creston volleyball team had to fight and claw for a 25-23, 22-25, 25-11, 28-26 win over Southwest Valley Thursday night in the team’s home opener.
The final game was indicative of the whole night, as the two teams went back and forth with neither wanting to give an inch.
The Panthers jumped out to a 15-9 lead midway through the fourth game, but saw Southwest Valley come storming back to take leads of 23-22 and hold game point at 25-24.
MaKenna Hudson’s back row kill kept the Panthers alive in the game, but Southwest Valley had another game point at 26-25. Creston rallied with three straight points to end the game and the match.
“That’s exactly what we want to see when we’re on the ropes like that is finish those out,” said Creston co-coach Mallory Peterson. “We practice for situations like that where we’ve got to have defense, we have to have stops. They didn’t make it easy on us.”
Southwest Valley head coach Lindsay Wetzel said she was glad to see her team clean up some of its unforced errors that plagued the Timberwolves in Tuesday’s loss to Mount Ayr.
Fewer mistakes allowed the Timberwolves to rally in the fourth game to take the lead and hold game point, and also gave them a chance in the match by knotting the score at 1-1 with a 25-22 win in game two.
“They really fought hard. Set two, getting that win, we really needed that,” Wetzel said.
Those unforced errors caught up to the Timberwolves again in game three, however. Creston stormed to a 5-0 lead in the game, with all the points coming on unforced errors by Southwest Valley.
The lead swelled to 12 at 17-5 as Creston senior Cayla Maitlen took control of the match in game three after a lineup adjustment by the Panther coaching staff.
Maitlen finished with 20 kills in the match, as did fellow Panther senior Breanna Wallace.
“We made some lineup adjustments (after the second game) to get a better matchup against 6 (Jentry Schafer), their big blocker,” Peterson said.
“Maitlen has a little bit more power to get through that block,” added co-coach Naomi Sharp. “It was a good change.”
Peterson and Sharp were both happy to see their team respond to the loss in game two and to Southwest Valley battling back in game four.
“I think you practice for those situations, but it’s nice to know they can do it in game-like situations,” Sharp said. “You try to create as much pressure on them in practice to perform – set a time limit, so many points before you get out of this drill – but I think when they can actually do it in a game situation, they’re like, ‘Now we can do it.’”
The win was the first of the season for the Panthers, who started 0-2. Both Panther coaches were glad to see the support from the community Thursday night, especially after a tough week for the school district.
“Great crowd. It’s nice to see, especially this week, it’s great to see the community here and getting people out to support these girls,” Peterson said. “To be able to perform tonight given the circumstances, and the support tonight, was huge. I think things like this can help the community at this point.”
Creston travels to Shenandoah Saturday, where the Panthers will play in a pool with Fremont-Mills, Essex and Bedford, before returning home in Hawkeye 10 Conference play against Council Bluffs St. Albert.
Southwest Valley fell to 1-3 for the season with the loss.
Creston 3, Southwest Valley 1
Serving (aces) — Cr: Breanna Wallace 24-24 (2), Taylor Buxton 22-22, Megan Haley 15-17 (2), Cayla Maitlen 10-13 (3), Bre Ross 11-13 (1), MaKenna Hudson 11-12. SWV: Delaney Dalton 23-24 (3), Alaina Currin 14-16, Lexie Haer 10-10, Jentry Schafer 10-10, Hailey Thomas 9-11, Makayla McMann 8-9.
Attacks (kills) — Cr: Cayla Maitlen 53-61 (20), Breanna Wallace 35-43 (20), Megan Haley 14-18 (4), MaKenna Hudson 2-3 (1). SWV: Jentry Schafer 14, Delaney Dalton 4, Lexie Haer 4.
Blocks (solo-assists) — Cr: Megan Haley 4, Bre Ross 1, Samantha Dunphy 1. SWV: Jentry Schafer 3-0, Kayley Myers 3-0, Abby Fleharty 2-0.
Setting (assists) — Cr: Bre Ross 43. SWV: Hailey Thomas 20.
Digs — Cr: MaKenna Hudson 20, Taylor Buxton 14, Cayla Maitlen 10, Breanna Wallace 7, Bre Ross 5, Saige Rice 5, Megan Haley 3. SWV: Lexie Haer 12, Alaina Currin 10, Delaney Dalton 9, Kayley Myers 5, MaKayla McMann 3.
The Creston JV volleyball team fell to Southwest Valley Thursday night 25-11, 21-25, 4-15.
Kelsey Fields recorded six kills, while Abbi Hood added four. Samantha Dunphy, Emma Hanson and Karly Calvin finished with two kills apiece. Riley Driskell had 10 assists and Saige Rice added five assists.
“This group is improving with each match,” said coach Mallory Peterson. “They are playing better team volleyball. Defensively, things are moving in the right direction and we are able to get some things going in the front row off of that.”
Creston’s freshmen also fell to Southwest Valley Thursday night, 25-20, 18-25, 7-15.
“Proud of how our kids played,” said freshman coach Mike McCabe. “First home game, kids were excited. We had an 11-point serving run by Ryli Abildtrup in set one that got us off and running.”
McCabe said several players played well in the front row, including Ryli Abildtrup, Kaci Abildtrup, Maddie Frey and Payton Luther. The team received solid back row passing from Lauren Christensen.