The West Liberty High School Volleyball team started their season in dominate fashion, going 5-0 to start the season, not dropping a single set enroute to the tournament title Saturday in Grinnell.
West Liberty, which started their season with 17 straight wins last year and finished at 26-7 for coach Ruben Galvan, didn’t disappoint in their start of the season, beating every opponent in two game matches.
Coach Ruben Galvan said he was hoping his team could continue their high level play going into the tourney. He said winning the title was "a total team effort,"
"I would think the girls would agree that each player played their position and executed what they needed to do in order for us to be successful. I am very proud of each and every single one of them for how they played. They kept a positive energy level and encouraged each other to play to their best of their abilities," Galvan said.
The season opened against Norwalk. The Warriors, sitting at 4-2 on the season, challenged the Comets in the opening set before West Liberty took the 21-17 victory. The Comets shut down the Norwalk offense in the second set, walking away with the 21-10 victory to take the series.
The Comets were paced by Rylee Goodale and Monica Morales from the serving line, Goodale connecting on 11 of 12 serves while Morales mastered nine of 10 including four aces. Sophie Buysse also was 4 of five from the serving line against Norwalk.
Macy Daufeldt ruled the kill category with 15 for the Comets while Buysse added eight while Ava Morrison, Maelyn Wainwright and Mylei Henderson each had one. Brooklyn Buysse had 24 assists in the game while Monica Morales had 13 digs, followed by Daufeldt with seven, Sophie Buysse with four and Rylee Goodale with three.
In the second match of the tourney, the Comets proceeded to take quick work of South Tama, allowing just 12 points over the series, culminating in 21-5 and 21-7 victories.
Sophie Buysse had four aces as she hit ten of 11 serves while McKenzie Akers went 5-5 including a pair of aces while Kylie Struck was 8-8 including an ace.
Brooklyn Buysse had 15 assists for the Comets in the South Tama win while Morales put together 14 digs, aided by five from Sophie Buysse and four from Struck.Daufeldt and sophie Buysse each had six kills while Morrison and Wainwright connected on three each and Henderson and Aly Harned each had a pair.
The Comets ended group play against Lynnville-Sully. West Liberty was challenged in the opening set, as the Hawks pushed the Comets, scoring 10 points. A return to form saw the Comets capture the 21-5 victory in the second set stand atop their group at the conclusion of pool play.
Sophie Buyse led the way from the serving line with four aces in connecting on nine of 10 serves while Gaby Morales went 4-4, including an ace. Rylee Goodale also went 5 of 6 from the serving line. Daufeldt again dominated in the kill stats, getting eight while Sophie Buysse added five and Brooklyn Buysse and Mylei Henderson each had a pair. Brooklyn Buysse managed 16 assists in the game while Monica Morales put together 15 digs while Daufeldt added four.
Into semi-final play, the Comets saw the return of Norwalk. The Comets were tested in the match, allowing 17 in the first and 10 in the second, but the Warrior effort proved not enough as the Comets captured the victory in the rematch in straight sets.
Monica Morales was again perfect from the serving line in getting all nine serves over while scoring a pair of aces. Sophie Buysse also was perfect at 8-8 while Goodale was 5-6, Akers 4-5 including an ace and Daufeldt 6-6.
Daufeldt led the kill category with 13 while Sophie Buysse mastered seven, and Wainwright and Henderson followed with three each.Brooklyn Buysse had 24 assists in the match while Monica Morales again led the digs with 16, followed by Sophie Buysse, Goodale and Daufeldt with nine, five and five respectively.
Galvan called Norwalk "a great team," but said his Cometw were able to pick on their weaknesses. He said the Comets "grew a lot" from the opening game" which helped the second time the two teams played.
"Going into the bracket play, we figured they would come at us tougher. However, our girls responded really well and play some great volleyball," the coach said.
The tournament championship saw the Comets match up again Clear Creek Amana. The Clippers pushed the opening set to the edge, scoring 16 on a stingy Comet defense. It proved not enough as the Comets ran away to capture the victory on the first set and shut down the Clipper attack in the second, allowing just six points to take the tournament title.
In that championship game, Monica Morales led the teeam from the serving line with a 14-14 performance including a pair of aces while daufeldt went 7-7 including a pair of aces, Sophie Buysse went 6-6, and McKenzie Akers and Brooklyn Buysse went 3-4 and 2-2 respectively.
Dahfeldt had 14 kills for the Comets while Henderson added five and Sophie Buysse connected on three. Morrison and Booklyn Buysse each had two.
Brooklyn Buysse had 21 assists in the match while Daufeldt led the digs category with 11 while Monica Morales added nine and Sophie Buyssse had seven.
Junior setter Brooklyn Buysse recorded 100 assists in the five games for the Comets on Saturday. Her sister, freshman Sophie, recorded 29 kills in her Comet debut. Senior Macy Daufeldt recorded 56 kills to lead the Comets in the category. Junior Libero Monica Morales recorded 67 digs for the Comets as she continues to assert herself as the centerpiece to the Comet defense.
The Comets, sitting at 5-0, will start River Valley Conference play Thursday, hosting Tipton at West Liberty High School beginning at 7:15 p.m., with frosh-soph action to take place at 6 p.m.
The team then battles in another invitational tournament this Saturday at Muscatine beginning at 9 a.m. Burlington, Mediapolis, Williamsburg and the host Muskies will battle in that tourney against the Comets.
Winning the Silver bracket in the tourney was Dallas Center-Grimes, which beat Mount Pleasant after eliminating East Marshall.
South Tama County won the Bronze bracket, defeating Iowa Valley