GREENFIELD — Nodaway Valley kept Martensdale-St. Marys off balance consistently enough Monday night to win 3-1 over the Blue Devils in the first round of the Pride of Iowa Conference Tournament.
The second seed on their side of the bracket, the Wolverines advanced to play Tuesday night at Mount Ayr.
Set scores were 25-12, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-21.
“They finished, and that’s all you can ask for. We were in some tough spots at times and they pushed through and finished at the end,” said Nodaway Valley head coach Allie Kiburz. “We came out with the W.”
Nodaway Valley came out being the aggressor in set 1 in serving, hitting and blocking, leading 12-3 early on before MTSM called a timeout. The Wolverines were able to attack the Blue Devils’ defense in several ways in the first set and the lead ballooned even greater as the set went on.
The two squads went back and forth in the second set. Lindsey Davis’ serving sparked the Wolverines early on, however MSTM took the lead at two different points before they won the frame for good on an NV net violation and a block by Ava Oberender and Kailey Phinney.
“I thought we had a lot of things we did well. I thought our back row played really well at times, especially in the beginning of the game. Martensdale does a good job of moving us around on defense and we didn’t adjust to it right away, and we had some unforced errors that hurt us at different times,” Kiburz said. “They fixed it and adjusted it, which is good to see.”
NV climbed back into the match with a win in the third, again building a big, early lead before the Blue Devils cut it to a 7-6 Wolverine advantage and Kiburz called a timeout. Flashes of struggles passing hampered the Wolverines in that set, but they got back on track for a 2-1 match lead.
The Wolverines served and hit well from multiple angles in set 4. Late in the set, sophomore Bella Hogan had two aces, which helped NV pull away and cement a four-point win.
“This was Genevieve [Livingston’s] first game on the left and she did a really good on the outside. Maddax [DeVault] is always really consistent and she’s hard to stop. Bella’s coming back from an injury and it was good to see her getting into the groove of things at the end. Makinley Edwards has been playing really consistent in the back row,” Kiburz said. “That’s all you can ask, is those girls stepping up into that role [you’re asking them to fill].”
DeVault finished with 20 kills, Livingston and Whitney Lamb each totaled 10. Davis set it up with 37 assists. On defense, Livingston and Hogan had two blocks apiece while seniors Hailey Hall and Lamb had one each.
The team fired six aces, serving 91.8% on the night. Lamb and Hogan each had two aces, Davis and DeVault had one.
“It was nice we had played them Thursday, so we definitely had a game plan coming into it,” Kiburz said. “We really executed that at the beginning. We knew their tip coverage was weaker in some areas, so it depended which personnel was in for them. It was about us being aware which personnel were in for them and who is in the front row.”