MAXWELL — Positive signs.
That is what Collins-Maxwell/Baxter volleyball coach Scott Ranck took away from a straight set defeat at the hands of Roland-Story on Thursday night.
The Raiders fought hard, even taking a commanding lead in the second set of the match, but a win was just not in the cards for the girls playing in the Maxwell home. They lost to the Norsemen 25-12, 25-22 and 25-17.
“Even though they took some tough losses out there, they look a lot better than they did (against Lynnville-Sully). There’s some young girls who really haven’t played a lot of volleyball, and they definitely took some steps forward tonight,” Ranck said.
The first set started with a big block by sophomore Payge Jurgens, but five straight points by the Norsemen gave them a 5-2 advantage. R-S’s streak was snapped on a missed serve, giving control back to CMB. A couple of missed opportunities on spikes at the net put the Raiders behind 9-4. A pair of aces by R-S senior Anna Himan built that lead up to 12-4. CMB tried to rally with four straight points, but the Norsemen fought hard and took a 19-10 lead after a block just nudged off Abbie Haupert’s fingers. The set concluded on a mishit with the Norsemen winning, 25-12.
The second set proved particularly brutal for the Raiders and their fans. Haupert got things started with a block at the net. Bridget Hurley’s kill hit the line to put the Raiders up 2-0. Two aces by Jurgens built the lead to 4-0. A mishit by R-S gave the Raiders an 8-3 edge.
Later in the set, another block by Haupert put the Raiders up 19-12. That’s when things began to turn. Three straight points by the Norsemen tightened the game up, and forced Ranck to call timeout. A long serve by CMB followed by an ace from R-S put the score at 20-18. With the Raiders up 22-20, the Norsemen took full control, scoring five straight points to win the set.
“We had the lead there, and it’s just some growing pains we’re going through right now,” Ranck said. “We have some very talented kids, but they don’t have a lot of varsity experience. Roland-Story does, and they knew when it was time to step up. We didn’t cave. We had some struggles, but we kind of fought through. That was the best we have played all year.”
Set three started with three straight Roland-Story points before two of their digs went into the net, making the score 3-2. A tap at the net put the score to 5-2. Haupert’s tip attempt landed wide to put CMB in an 8-2 hole. She came back with a spike two points later.
R-S commanded the next few points to take a 14-5 lead, but the Raiders fought back, and at one point the score was 15-11. However, a couple Norsemen spikes made the score 18-11. Down 22-13, CMB had a brief rally, but ended up losing 25-17.
“The first game we were looking a little shaky, a little nervous,” Ranck said. “It’s just a big learning process for some of these girls right now. I’m kind of pleased with how it went. I saw some positives.
“We still have a lot of work to go. If we can correct some of our issues, get our passing down, give our young kids some experience, by the middle of the season we could be a totally different team.”
Haupert led the team with four kills. Jurgens was second on the team with 10. Junior Alex Hiavacek had two kills, and senior Katie Ziesman had one. Abbey Applegate led the team with seven digs. Hurley had four digs. Mackenzie Schmitzs picked up three.
Bekah Pearson and Ziesman each had two digs. Haupert and Jurgens each had one. Schmitz led the Raiders in assists with five. Ziesman had two, and Hurley had one. Jurgens and Haupert recorded solo blocks for the Riaders.
On the service, Ziesman was 10-of-11 with an ace. Jurgens went 9-of-10 with a team-high three aces. Schmitz and senior Hannah McWhirter were both 5-of-5. Applegate went 6-of-7. Haupert was 4-of-6. Pearson went 3-of-3. Hurley was 2-of-3, and Hiavcek was 1-of-2.