FONTANELLE – Nodaway Valley picked up a big Pride of Iowa Conference win Tuesday night, winning 3-0 over Mount Ayr.
The Wolverines improved to 9-4 (2-0) and the Raiderettes fall to 2-2 (0-2) on the season. Nodaway Valley currently sits atop the Pride of Iowa while Mount Ayr is in sixth.
The high contrast of games between the two was a contributing factor to each set score, said both coaches.
“We play a lot of games early in the season and that can be good and bad,” said Nodaway Valley head coach Allison Kiburz. “I think playing those games early in the season got us prepared physically and mentally. ... It did give us an advantage that we had played so many games already because we’ve kind of worked out the kinks and have figured out our rotation.”
“I definitely do (think it gave them an advantage),” said Mount Ayr head coach Tori Braby. “It’s a whole new lineup tonight. I had made up the lineup right before the game, so the girls I thought did a better job than I expected. We threw a new lineup out at them and they did a lot more than I expected.”
The lineup shakeup for the Raiderettes resulted in good floor movement and communication, feeding hitter Sam Stewart and Channler Henle the ball for a combined 13 kills. The expectations for the new pairings was not extravagant, but simple.
“To work together,” said Braby. “That’s something we’ve really been struggling on and I think that’s what they did. They were on each other’s team and were excited about everything that was going on. ... I just wanted to see a team (like that) on the floor.”
The Raiderettes moved Adalyn Reynolds to the middle position and moved Peyton Lambert to a setting role. Braby also mentioned that reserve players were cycled into the rotation Tuesday night.
Due to repairs still being made on Nodaway Valley’s gym from a storm last month, the Wolverines have been playing their home games at neutral sites. The location Tuesday night was down the road at Nodaway Valley’s middle school in a hot and stuffy gym that was getting the best of both sides.
“This is a very hard atmosphere to play in,” said Kiburz. “We did have an advantage of playing in here last week against Southeast Warren. The girls know they have to be focused coming into this and I think they learned from playing in the first week here. I think they did that tonight and they started from the beginning.”
Braby said the heat affected her team also.
“Definitely. Halfway through that second game and third game I could definitely see the heat on their faces. They were getting exhausted,” said Braby. “That’s from them actually going out and working hard tonight and that’s something where we’re just going to have to get in shape once we know our lineup.”
A clean sweep
The start of the night for the Wolverines was the tone-setter for the match.
A 10-0 run to open the game off the serve of Lexi Shike was how Nodaway Valley made a statement out the gate, getting powerful kills off the hands of Maddax DeVault and Corinne Bond to give the conference rival an early hole to climb out of.
The Raiderettes snapped the streak on a dump to the back line from Jaycee Knight to get Mount Ayr on the board, knocking NV off its rhythm on what became a 8-4 stretch where Mount Ayr reeled the game to within five points.
The fivepoint deficit was as close as it came as NV pulled away, scoring three straight an then four straight to create separation.
A Bond kill was how the first set ended with Nodaway Valley winning 25-14.
In the second set the Raiderettes were ready to bounce back, taking an early 4-1 lead.
A saved volley on digs by DeVault and Natalie Yonker kept the ball up long enough for the Wolverines to save it for a point to cut the score in half at 4-2.
For the next 20 minutes the Wolverines battled in a one-to-two point game before three points off McKynli Newbury’s serve gave the Wolverines a little room to work at 13-11.
The Raiderettes got kills off the hands of Stewart and Knight to keep the difference at three points (16-13), but a floater into no-man’s land by Bond pushed it back to four.
The difference was enough to keep Mount Ayr away as NV rolled to the second set win 25-19.
A tired Raiderettes team entered the third set and quickly fell behind 8-2, the lone points coming from Stewart.
An ace off the serve of Gracie Mobley pulled the differential to four at 9-5 later on in the set, but five straight off Newbury’s serve negated the Raiderettes score.
Down 17-8, Henle rallied Mount Ayr on her service run, scoring five straight to make it 17-12.
The run went for naught as the Wolverines closed out the game on an 8-2 run, ending it on a Bond kill at 25-15.
Of those who had floor time, Kiburz had much to say of her regulars in the lineup.
“There were a lot of people that we were impressed by,” said Kiburz. “Maddax had some great hits in key times. ... Lexi, she controls the pace of our offense and she was everywhere tonight. The back row is always huge and those are kind of the unsung heroes that don’t get much attention.”
Nodaway Valley’s ability to establish a tempo and consistency on point runs was a big factor to its success.
“That was part of the advantage of us having so many games (played) already, we’ve had some time where those runs have got to us on the other side,” said Kiburz. “Key timeouts in different points and making sure they’re mentally focused.”
For Mount Ayr, with part of the rotation still being worked out at this point in the season, Braby feels that some girls have stood out and made a good impression.
“(I was impressed with) Sam Stewart. She’s been doing a really good job for us in hitting. She’s pretty consistent and does not like making mistakes, so when she does I know she’s going to fix it right away,” said Braby. “Jaycee Knight too. She’s been running all over the place and does a really good job for us.”
UP NEXT – Nodaway Valley will take a week off and rest, getting back in the swing of things next Tuesday (Sept. 17) against Class 1A No. 10 Southwest Valley. Start time will be at 7:30 p.m. in Corning.
The Raiderettes will be back in motion Thursday night in a triangular against Clarke and Pleasantville. Start time will be 5:30 in Osceola.
Nodaway Valley 3, Mount Ayr 0
Mount Ayr statistics
Serving (aces) — Channler Henle 4-5, Jaycee Knight 9-11 (2), Gracie Mobley 7-7 (1), Adalyn Reynolds 5-5, Maddie Stewart 5-5 (1), Sam Stewart 10-10 (2), Tegan Streit 2-2.
Attacks (kills) — Henle 4, Knight 1, Lambert 1, Reynolds 1, Rachel Sobotka 1, Sam Stewart 9.
Blocks — Sobotka 2.
Setting (assists) — Knight 15, Lambert 1.
Digs — Sam Stewart 10, Maddie Stewart 10, Mobley 8, Henle 3, Knight 4, Reynolds 1.
Nodaway Valley statistics
Serving (aces) — Corinne Bond 7-7 (1), Maddax DeVault 10-11 (1), Whitney Lamb 9-10, McKynli Newbury 6-6, Lexi Shike 23-23 (5), Natalie Yonker 16-16 (1).
Attacks (kills) — Bond 13, DeVault 8, Daugherty 4, Shike 3, Newbury 2.
Blocks — Bond 4-2, Daugherty 0-1, Lamb 0-1, Newbury 0-1, Shike 0-1.
Setting (assists) — Shike 24, Bond 1.
Digs — Yonker 11, Newbury 10, DeVault 8, Shike 7, Bond 5, Lamb 1.