Volleyball drops hard fought battle

Mark and Cindy Becker · Wednesday, November 1, 2017
On Thursday, Oct. 24, the West Liberty Comets volleyball team traveled to Davenport Assumption for a Class 3A second round Region 7 matchup.

While the Comets put up a good fight during the second match of the postseason, ultimately they were eliminated in four sets.

“We played well as a whole,” said Coach Ruben Galvan. “We made more mistakes than they did and weren’t able to cover tips and they scored a ton of points on that.”

“Set four we were in the game and at crucial moment we missed a serve towards the stretch and that hurt us,” he added. “In games like this you can’t do that. Those missed serves will come back to haunt you.”

Adding together every regular game, tourney game and post season game the Comets ended the 2017 campaign with a winning record of 22-14.

It was a long season that started off hot, including two tournament wins in Grinnell and Mid-Prairie and a close second place finish in Muscatine.

West Liberty went 5-4 in regular season matches, with wins against West Branch, Cascade, Iowa City, Mid-Prairie and Durant-Bennett.

Although the team struggled in the second half they surpassed their post-season performance of last year by winning round 1 of the post season against Solon 3-2 on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

This set up game 2 of the post season on Tuesday, Oct. 24, where West Liberty took on the tough Davenport Assumption Knights.

The first set would set the stage for the entire match. There was good volleyball, numerous lead changes and an incredibly competitive game

Neither team lead by more than one point in the set, until midway through when West Liberty took a 19-16 lead with a 5-2 run aided by kills from Brianna Morales and Martha Pace, causing Assumption to take a time out.

West Liberty would extend their lead to 23-19 with a help from a couple miscues by the Knights.

The Comets gave it all they had, but were unable to close out the Class 3A #7 Davenport Assumption Knights, who went on a 6-1 to win the first set 26-24.

In the second set, West Liberty led most of the way by only 1 or 2 points until Assumption was able to tie it at 20.

West Liberty’s three leading hitters, Morales, Pace, and Hallie Mueller all had kills that helped the Comets stay in control.

Morales sealed the second set win with kills on the Comets last two points to even it up at one set a piece.

The Comets battled in set 3, but seemed to be playing catch up for most of the set.

West Liberty’s last lead would be at 7-6 with a Martha Pace kill, only to have the Knights go on a 9-1 run after that to give Assumption a commanding 16-8 lead.

The Comets battled and played better, but were unable to overcome the large deficit and dropped the third set 25-15.

West Liberty was down to their last set. They needed to win set four to force a deciding fifth set to have a chance at pulling off the upset.

This set again included multiple lead changes. Emma Martin had an ace serve that gave the Comets a brief lead at 14-13.

The teams then traded points and West Liberty was able to go up 22-20, after an Assumption net serve. But once again, the Knights then responded with a 5-1 run to win the set 25-23. In the end West Liberty lost 1-3.

However, West Liberty finished the season with a 22-14 record. The Comets have won 20 games or more in 6 of their last 8 seasons

In talking with Coach Galvan about the outgoing seniors of Morales, Martin and Thurness, he also spoke about the future of Comet Volleyball.

“I think next year shouldn’t be a rebuilding year, but a reloading year. We might be young as far as grade level but we have a lot of kids with a lot of playing experience and we have high expectations, just as we did this year,” said Galvan.

West Liberty vs Davenport Assumption

24-26, 25-22,15-25,23-25

Serves:Emma Martin 19/19 2 ace, Brianna Morales 14/15, Macy Akers: 16/18,Karsyn Ruess 9/10, Hallie Mueller 10/13 1 ace

Kills: Brianna Morales 16, Breana Thurness 8, Martha Pace 11, Hallie Mueller 12

Blocks: Brianna Morales 7

Digs: Macy Akers 34, Emma Martin 12, Brianna Morales 18, Karsyn Ruess 19

Assists: Morgan Peterson 46
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