Central volleyball team plagued by errors in two losses

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Gracie Cummer and Katelyn Scherf block a kill attempt in Central’s loss at NFV. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Mackayla Vlazny bumps the ball up during the game at NFV

Tori Sylvester tallied seven kills against the TigerHawks.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central volleyball team suffered back-to-back Upper Iowa Conference losses last week, dropping the Warriors to fourth place with a 4-2 record (11-22 overall) with just two conference games remaining before they head into districts. 


The Warriors’ first loss came against the Turkey Valley Trojans, who are currently tied atop the conference standings, in a match coach Kelly Erickson simply said the team “did not play well.” Central lost all three sets: 25-18, 25-16 and 25-19. 


On offense, Royer led the team in assists with 14, and also led in digs on defense with 16. The Warriors produced 15 kills, led by Lexi Loan with seven, while Tori Sylvester, Katelyn Scherf and Aly Feickert tallied two each. 


The defense came away with seven blocks, led by Sylvester with five, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Trojan offense. Sylvester was also second on the team in digs with nine, Feickert grabbed eight and Loan chipped in six. 


The Warriors finished with four aces, two from Gracie Cummer and two by Feickert, and earned a team serve efficiency of 94.5 percent. 


When asked what went wrong, Erickson responded it wasn’t any one thing. 


“We didn’t pass well or hit well. We reverted to some of our old ways of not moving for the ball. Our setter Royer was also our leading digger, which means they did a good job of taking our setter out and throwing us out of system. Our leading passer, Feickert, also didn’t receive that many passes in the three sets.  And, all together, we only had 16 kills in the three sets,” she said. “With only 16 kills, we also had 15 hitting errors. So, we were making too many errors at the net.”


The second loss of the week came against North Fayette Valley, where the Warriors once again struggled with hitting errors, finishing with 32. 


Central won the first set of the match, passing and attacking the ball to come away with a 25-21 victory, but the TigerHawks adjusted, and the Central errors started to take their toll in the next three sets. The TigerHawks clamped down and won those sets by scores of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-17, securing the match win. 


Royer finished with 31 of the team’s 33 assists and added four kills and 15 digs to her stat line. The offense had 33 kills across the four sets, led by Feickert with nine, Sylvester with seven and Scherf and Loan with five apiece. 


The defense managed five blocks, led by Sylvester with two, while Cummer, Royer and Feickert each had one. The Warriors also had 80 digs, with multiple players in double digits, including Feickert with 18, Loan with 16 and Sylvester with 13. 


The Warriors hit five aces, led by Royer and Scherf with two apiece, and the team finished with a serve efficiency of 94.4 percent. 


“In games two and three, our passing went down a little, but we started to make too many errors on offense. We played well, and hustled after everything, but we just kept hitting to where their players were at, and they did a good job of hitting in our holes,” Erickson said. 


The final week of the regular season includes a familiar opponent in South Winneshiek, a team Central has beaten twice already this season, but Erickson understands how difficult it is to defeat a team three times. The Warriors finish the season against MFL MarMac. Erickson emphasized the importance of winning both games. 


“These two games this week are very important in that they will tell us where we will end up in our conference run, as well as they are our last chance to prepare for our district games,” Erickson said.


The season trilogy against South Winn concludes at home on Oct. 11, while the final game of the season versus the Bulldogs, which will also serve as senior night, is in Elkader on Oct. 13. 


The Warriors will follow that with a regional match against the Starmont Stars, who beat Central earlier this season. The rematch is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.

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