Playing together and having fun are two of the ingredients that have led to the Nodaway Valley volleyball squad winning four of their last five matches leading into a match that was scheduled for Tuesday night at home against Southwest Valley.
The Wolverines (5-8, 1-0 in the Pride of Iowa) defeated Mount Ayr in straight sets last Tuesday before going 3-1 in the Perry Tournament on Thursday, finishing in second place.
“Our games have been a lot more fun than they were earlier in the season,” said junior setter Emma Lundy. “We’ve tried working on our energy. We’re trying to get everyone hyped up all the time and make sure they know what they’re supposed to be doing.”
More than anything, NV wants to be aggressive in putting the ball away in scoring points. At times, that has been effective over the last handful of matches, however they want to keep improving at it.
What does that take?
“Bump, set, spike, kill,” Lundy exclaimed.
The team’s other captain, junior outside Lindsey Davis, said that the team is focusing on putting mistakes in the past on the court, which is important in not losing momentum.
“Most of us have experience on varsity, so that also helps,” Davis said. “We do have some new ones, so we’re trying to help them become comfortable playing varsity. We play better when we have fun, so that’s our goal.”
Nodaway Valley won the Mount Ayr match on set scores of 25-21, 25-20, 25-22. Genevieve Livingston and Davis each had seven kills, leading the way. Lundy had 17 assists. Livingston and Bella Hogan had two each of the team’s six aces. Sophomore libero Makinley Edwards and Livingston led with seven digs each.
Wins at Perry were against South Hamilton (21-15, 16-21, 15-10), Ogden (23-21, 21-14) and Perry (21-15, 21-18).
Against South Hamilton, Lundy recorded 22 assists and Davis led with 19 kills. Edwards scored three aces. Davis and Livingston had five kills each against Ogden, Lundy had eight assists and Hogan two aces. Livingston paced the way with six digs. Against Perry, the Wolverines benefited from five kills apiece from Davis and Hogan, with 10 assists coming from Lundy. Edwards led with four digs while Davis, Livingston and Hogan each had an ace.
Nodaway Valley finishes its season with four of its final six competition dates at home. After Tuesday’s match against SWV, the Wolverines travel this Saturday to a tournament at Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center, then host conference foe Bedford Sept. 20, non-conference team Grand View Christian Sept. 29, go to the Greene County tournament in Jefferson Oct. 1, travel to Lenox Oct. 4 and finish at home Oct. 6 opposing Martensdale-St. Marys.
“I think Mount Ayr was kind of a turning point, when they saw they could win those games and do big things. Keeping each other up [has been huge],” said NV head coach McKynli Newbury. “In the beginning of the season, I felt the kids were kind of just there to be there, going through the motions. We’ve talked a lot the last few weeks about going out and giving it your all, regretting nothing when you leave the court that day, staying positive with each other. I think they’ve done a great job of bringing up their attitudes and everything else.”