By ROGER THOMAS
---- — SIGOURNEY — The North Mahaska volleyball team reached the Class 1A regional semifinals by downing Melcher-Dallas and Twin Cedars, but Friday night in Sigourney their postseason run came to an end at the hands of ninth-ranked Winfield-Mount Union. The Wolves downed the Warhawks 3-0 by the scores of 26-24, 25-17, and 25-20.
North Mahaska closes out its season at 14-12.
After WMU jumped out to a 3-0 lead, the Warhawks outplayed them until the midpoint of game one. The point won at 6-5 by North Mahaska was one of the best of the night. The Warhawks received a hard serve, popped the ball up and, after it hit off a suspended basketball basket, it was returned over by a player running full speed away from the net.
That seemed to fire up North Mahaska and a four-point service run by Rachel Sherburne followed to give her team a 10-5 lead. The serving of Jordan Ferguson and a down-the-line kill by Nicole Brand increased the Warhawk lead to 14-6.
Three kills and a block winner by Erica Robison helped the Wolves to pull even at 16.
“We just quit attacking,” said North Mahaska coach Jim Woods.
After Sherburne’s kill gave the lead back to the Warhawks, it served as an impetus for North Mahaska to again pull ahead at 23-20. The Wolves used a block for a winner by Samantha Jamison to tie it at 23, then used three consecutive kills to break a 24-all tie to win game one.
In game two, North Mahaska jumped out to the early lead. A block for a winner by Michaela Heys, two big hits by Sherburne, and a block winner by Carly Ehret helped North Mahaska lead 10-5.
Then the hitting of WMU took control of the game and helped the Wolves eventually take control of game two. After a quiet start to the match, Shelby Therme’s hitting led WMU back. Her fourth kill gave WMU a 15-12 lead.
“In volleyball game one is so critical,” said Woods. “I think we weren’t able to sustain our lead because they hit it harder and more often than our other two opponents.”
Therme had her fifth kill for an 18-14 lead that the Wolves would build to 23-16 at the end of Robison’s service run. The Wolves eighth kill of game two gave them the win.
The Warhawks scored the first point of game three, but after the Wolves took the lead during a four-point service run by Brooke Jennings, they would lead throughout the match-ending game.
With Ehret serving, the Warhawks closed to within two at 15-13. Therme then used her hitting to give the Wolves the breathing room they needed to win game three, coming up with four big hits to push the WMU lead to 18-13.
Woods, a believer of aggressive serving, saw his Warhawks have a good serving night serving. With Robison doing most of the digging, however, WMU handled the serve receiving part of the game.
“They did a good job of receiving serve,” Woods said of ninth-ranked Winfield-Mount Union (25-10), who will play for a berth in the Class 1A State Volleyball Tournament Wednesday in a regional final showdown with top-ranked Holy Trinity in Mount Pleasant at 7 p.m. The Crusaders (44-3) booked its place in the regional final by sweeping 10-13 Moravia 25-7, 25-9 and 25-1 on Friday night behind 24 kills on 30-30 attacking and nine blocks from future Nebraska Cornhusker Mikaela Foecke.
Layne Davis served the Wolves to a 22-13 lead. Robison had two big plays attacking during the run. Two big hits by Heys closed the lead to 22-16 but the damage was done and WMU closed out the match even though the Warhawks outscored them 4-3 over the final points.
Class 1A, Region 8 Semifinals
Winfield-Mt. Union 26-25-25
North Mahaska 24-17-20
Serving — Layne Davis 18/18, Shelby Therme 7/8, Brooke Jennings 13/14, Caitlin Jamison 10/10, Erica Robison 12/13, Taylor Rodgers 8/9, Darby Harris 1/2. Team 69/74. Aces — Davis, Therme, Jennings. Team — 3.
Hitting — Therme 32/33, Emily Mathews 10/13, Nicole Escher 10/14, Jennings 1/1, Lou Krieger-Coen 9/9, Jamison 14/16, Robison 25/30, Rodgers 1/1, Harris 0/1. Team 102/118. Kills — Therme 12, Mathews 3, Escher, Krieger-Coen 4, Jamison 2, Robison 6. Team — 28.
Setting — Rodgers 18, Jennings 11, Krieger-Coen, Mathews, Therme. Team — 32.
Blocks — Mathews 4, Escher, Krieger-Coen, Jamison, Robison 6. Team — 10.
Digs — Therme 18, Davis 4, Robison 4, Rodgers 4, Escher 3, Harris 3, Jamison 3, Mathews. Team — 40.
North Mahaska Statistics
Serving — Rachel Sherburne 11/12, Carly Ehret 8/8, Caprice Dye 6/10, Jordan Ferguson 4/6, Michaela Heys 14/14, Nicole Brand 13/13. Team 56/63. Aces — Ehret, Dye, Heys, Brand 2. Team — 5.
Hitting — Sherburne 26/30, Ehret 12/15, Dye 12/13, Heys 18/19, Brand 24/30, Olivia Boender 7/7. Team 99/114. Kill Leaders — Sherburne 4, Ehret 3, Dye, Heys 4, Brand 2. Team — 14.
Setting Leaders — Dye 17. Team — 18.
Blocks — Ehret 4, Heys 3, Boender 2. Team — 9.
Dig Leaders — Brand 16. Team — 66.