By ROGER THOMAS
---- — FAIRFIELD — The sweat was dripping off players and fans alike Thursday night in Fairfield at the Steve Hisel volleyball quadrangler that opened the season for three area teams. Albia, seventh-ranked (2A) Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont and Iowa Mennonite joined the 15th-ranked (4A) Trojans for the night's action. When the round robin format of matches was complete, E-B-F was the team undefeated.
Fairfield's athletic director Jeff Courtright was still passing out water to fans in the stands when the first pair of matches started. E-B-F downed Iowa Mennonite 22-20 and 21-16 on court two. Albia and Fairfield took three games to settle the match on court one. The Trojans dropped the first game to the Lady Dees 21-17 before winning the next two, 21-12 and 15-11.
Hannah Dustin gave Albia an early 5-1 lead with a four-point service run. Fairfield would come back to take a brief lead at 9-8. A deep kill by Sydney Weldon put the Lady Dees up 11-9 and would lead the rest of the way. An ace serve by Zoee Hutt ended game one. Marissa Repp led the Trojan hitting in the game with three kills.
Dustin again had a good run of serves to put Albia up 6-1 with a Brooke Bettis kill ending the run. Fairfield would come back to tie it at nine, then rode the play of Repp and Hanna Greiner to the game-two win. Repp had a six-point service run and Greiner had two kills and a block winner.
Game three was close or tied early until Fairfield grabbed a 12-10 lead on a tip winner by Madison Roberts. Roberts added another kill as the Trojans closed out the game and won the match.
“We have some experience on our team but we showed some inexperience at times,” said Fairfield coach Nancy Diers. “I think we also saw some first match jitters.”
The second rotation of matches saw a much improved Albia team fall again in three games to IMS. They dropped the first game, 18-21, won game two 22-20, but fell 15-11 in the decisive game.
“We have some high expectations for this group,” said Albia coach Tessa Simpson.
Round two also saw the 15th-ranked (4A) Trojans fall 2-0 to No. 7 (2A) E-B-F by the scores of 21-15, 21-15. This match was all about the hitting. In game one E-B-F registered eight kills to only one for Fairfield. Tasha Alexander gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead with a deep kill. E-B-F led throughout the game as Alexander, Karlie Taylor, and Taylor Leffler combined for seven kills. Leffler also added two blocks.
“We got a little intimidated while they (E-B-F) were flying around and really pounding it,” said Diers.
Fairfield took an early lead of 5-1 with Payne serving. They would increase the lead to 8-2 before the Rockets, behind the serving of Abby Boyer and the hitting of Taylor, would rally. A Taylor kill found the floor in the middle of the Trojan defense to tie it at 10. Two Alexander kills kept the score knotted at 12. Sadie Baugher gave the Rockets control of the match with six service points for a 19-13 lead. Taylor ended the game with a big hit off a double block and a kill.
The rotation that closed out the night saw the Trojans down IMS 2-0. The scores were 21-16 and 21-9.
“I thought that our serve receive was pretty good and our blocking wasn’t so good,” said Diers. “IMS is really a scrappy team, so to finish our night by that win was nice to see.”
Two South Central Conference rivals that will definitely meet again, Albia and E-B-F, played a three-game match that was won by the Rockets. E-B-F won game one easily 21-9, but the Lady Dees won game two 21-19. The Rockets took the match with a 15-9 win in game three.
Albia had the early lead in the opener. Kills by Bettis and Hugen helped them to a 4-3 advantage. Alexander had her second early kill to keep the Rockets within 6-4 but then it was give the ball to Haegen Boyer and just add up the points. When Boyer gave up the serve, her team led 17-6. Taylor was huge during the run with two kills and four blocks. Alexander finished off game one with a cross court kill.
Game two was close throughout with neither team having a lead bigger than two. Two mid-game kills by Alexander gave the Rockets a 10-9 lead and a Taylor kill put E-B-F up 16-14. Bettis had kills to tie it at 16 and 19 and then after her ace serve, the Lady Dees led 20-19. Dustin's winner off the double block won it for Albia.
“We maybe need to re-think this in this heat but I think it’s really important that we were able to take at least a game from each team,” said Simpson.
The Rocket hitting was the difference in the deciding game. The score was tied for much of the early going but Alexander's second kill gave E-B-F a 7-6 lead. The lead was 8-7 after Alexander's perfectly placed kill found an opening in the Lady Dee defense. Taylor took over the latter stages of the game with a block winner, a kill, and a big hit off a double block for a 14-8 E-B-F lead. The team’s traded points to close out game three.
E-B-F coach Gladys Genskow talked about her team’s play.
“This was a good test and a good way to open. We are an experienced team but we are playing offensively way better than we are defensively. When we find the balance we need our experience should make us really tough.”
No. 7 (2A) EBF (3-0) heads to the West Branch Tournament today while No. 15 (4A) Fairfield (2-1) is off until hosting Southeast Conference rival Mount Pleasant on Thursday. Albia (0-3) will look to bounce back Tuesday night in its home opener against Sigourney.
Fairfield Volleyball Quadrangular Results
Fairfield 17-21-15, Albia 21-12-11
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 22-21, IMS 20-16
IMS 21-20-15, Albia 18-22-11
EBF 21-21, Fairfield 15-15
Fairfield 21-21, IMS 16-9
EBF 21-19-15, Albia 9-21-9
E-B-F Tournament Statistics
Karlie Taylor: 55/70 Attacks, 31 Kills, 12/16 Serving, 3 aces, 15 digs, 5 blocks.
Tasha Alexander: 40/52 Attacks, 26 Kills, Assist, 15/21 Serving, 2 aces, 18 digs, 2 blocks.
Paige Shafer: 4/4 Attacks, 70 Assists, 17/18 Serving, 3 aces, dig.
Sadie Baugher: 15/19 Attacks, 8 Kills, 24/27 Serving 2 aces, 10 digs, 4 blocks.
McKinley Moore: 9/12 Attacks 3 Kills, 2 digs, 4 blocks.
Haegen Boyer: 5/5 Attacks, 1 Kill, 1 Assist, 33/33 Serving, 1 ace, 22 digs.
Taylor Leffler: 18/24 Attacks, 7 Kills, 2 Assists, 6 digs, 3 blocks.
Abby Boyer: 5/6 Attacks, 1 Kill, 17/17 Serving, 1 ace, 1 Assist.
Fairfield Tournament Statistics
Marisa Repp: 42/51 Attacks, 20 Kills, 18/21 Serving, 4 aces, 20 digs, 1 block.
Hanna Greiner: 32/36 Attacks, 12 Kills, 1 dig, 4 blocks.
Madison Roberts: 27/31 Attacks, 7 Kills, 6 digs
McKenna Ledger: 19/22 Attacks, 6 Kills, 20/21 Serving, 1 ace, 2 Assists, 4 digs, 1 block.
Molly Ryan: 13/15 Attacks, 4 Kills, 1 Assist, 1 dig, 3 blocks.
Cheyenne Laux: 5/5 Attacks, 3 Kills, 16/19 Serving, 1 ace, 1 Assist, 38 digs.
Alexis Ring: 1/2 Attacks, 1 Kill, 13/16 Serving, 2 aces, 7 Assists, 6 digs.
Kelsey Roberts: 1/1 Attacks, 5/6 Serving, 6 Assists, 5 digs.
Sydney Burnett: 1/2 Attacks, 20/20 Serving, 2 aces, 23 Assists, 15 digs.
Valerie Payne: 1/1 Attacks, 24/26 Serving, 1 ace, 9 digs.
Keri Schwarz: 6/7 Attacks.
Brooke Stever: 9/16 Attacks, 1 Assist, 1 dig, 1 block.
Albia Tournament Statistics
Hannah Dustin: 40/48 Attacks, 18 Kills, 30/30 Serving, 1 ace, 18 digs.
Brooke Bettis: 36/43 Attacks, 15 Kills, 20/20 Serving, 3 aces, 13 digs, 3 blocks.
Sydney Weldon: 16/19 Attacks, 8 Kills, 19/19 Serving, 18 Assists, 12 digs.
Lexie Van Polen: 6/8 Attacks, 4 Kills, 4 blocks.
Maria Maddy: 8/9 Attacks, 2 Kills, 3/3 Serving, 1 dig
Zoee Hutt 2/2 Attacks, 1 Kill, 10/11 Serving, 2 aces, 14 digs.
Marissa Hugen: 2/3 Attacks, 1 Kill, 15/19 Serving, 1 ace, 22 Assists, 5 digs, 2 blocks.
Cassie Crall: 24/25 Serving, 3 aces, 11 digs.