COLFAX — Playing hard is the most any coach can ask for.
Colfax-Mingo volleyball coach Brian Warrick came away from his team’s four-set loss (25-13, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19) to Collins-Maxwell/Baxter on Thursday night displeased with the loss, but at the same time, he was proud of his players’ hustle, something he said has not been on full display at certain points this season.
“The girls played hard. They gave it their maximum effort. We had a couple slow times, but overall, we played hard,” Warrick said. “We kept balls alive that other times, we haven’t kept them alive because we haven’t played as hard as we did tonight. We scored points when we hit the ball in. We just didn’t hit enough.”
Meanwhile, Scott Ranck’s CMB team has been on a roll, with this the team’s second straight Heart of Iowa Conference win of the week. It appears the team is starting to figure some things out.
“I am really proud of how far our girls have come and how they have responded to situations so far this year. It is always good to get the win,” Ranck said. “We have pulled our record up to .500, a place CMB volleyball hasn’t been in five years. The girls are really excited about that and are starting to see that the hard work they have put in during the off-season, as well as the regular season, is starting to pay off. “
Set 1 started with a 1-0 lead in favor of the Tigerhawks after CMB’s dig went into the net. A kill by Payge Jurgens made the score 1-1. Abbie Haupert racked up back-to-back kills to give the Raiders an edge. Alex Hiavacek hit on an ace to make it 4-2. The Tigerhawks saw a few of their kill attempts sail past the end line, falling behind 8-3. Katie Ziesman pushed the ball over the net to take a 9-3 lead.
C-M got the ball back in their possession, and a kill attempt by Jurgens missed the mark to bring the home team within four. C-M’s next serve was out. A diving dig by Haupert later in the set put the Raiders ahead 13-6. Following that dig and subsequent kill, Warrick called for a timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Mackenzie Schmitz hit an ace. A later ace by Ziesman gave CMB a 16-8 lead. C-M had a tip over the net by Jade Lewis followed by an ace by Riley Thompson to make it a seven point set. One of the Tigerhawks crossed over the line on a play at the net to give the visitors the ball back. An ace by Hannah McWhirter made it 19-10. Abbey Applegate hit an ace that was followed by a vicious spike by Haupert to make it 24-11. C-M picked up a late ace by Allison Teed, but CMB closed out the set 25-13.
Jurgens kicked off the second set for the Raiders with an ace. Later, a kill gave the Tigerhawks a 4-2 lead. CMB fought back to claim a 5-4 lead, but the Tigerhawks tied it back at five. A C-M dig sailed wide, giving CMB a 6-5 lead. C-M rallied back and reclaimed the lead on an ace by Lewis. A couple hits by CMB went into the net, making it 8-6. Haupert powered home a spike to pull within one. CMB retook the lead at 10-9.
The two teams traded blows until CMB called a timeout after falling behind 16-14. It was the Raiders in possession of the ball when Applegate took control with her serves. She hit two straight aces and forced difficult returns. Up 20-16, she put away another ace, forcing Warrick to use a timeout. With Lewis serving, C-M got back within three points, but a couple balls flew into the net for the Tigerhawks, giving CMB a 25-18 win.
The third set began with the Raiders hitting one into the net, which was followed by a service error by the Tigerhawks. C-M got the ball right back when the Tigerhawks also missed a serve. Brodka spiked one home, giving the Tigerhawks a 5-1 lead. Another ace by Teed made it 8-4. Thompson scored a kill on the next point.
Two points later, Jurgens hit a kill to pull within three. C-M pulled away, and an ace by Amy Russell gave it a six-point edge. An ace to put the Tigerhawks up seven, and CMB coach Scott Ranck called for a timeout. With the Tigerhawks one point away from a third-set victory, the Raiders began to rally. CMB pulled within three points, but a ball into the net forced the match to continue to a fourth set.
“They played hard all night, but it seemed like they were tougher in Set 3,” Warrick said. “The first set, I looked up at one point, and we were down 19-11, and it didn’t feel like we were playing bad enough to be behind that much. We were playing well, and it was weird how we fell behind.”
Feeding off the momentum from their third-set win, the Tigerhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead. CMB fought back to win the next three points, and the match was tied at four after a C-M serve sailed into the net. A kill by Dakota Brodka gave C-M a 5-4 lead. With Ziesman serving, CMB took a 9-6 lead, and an ace made it 10-6. At 11-6, C-M called another timeout. C-M got the next two point out of the timeout, but fell behind 19-11 after three aces by Jurgens. Haupert hit two straight kills to make it 22-11. At 24-12, CMB rallied for seven straight points, before the match ended on a service error.
“We came out playing very well the first set. The girls really got excited when Abbie Haupert thundered a hit to the floor towards the end,” Ranck said. “Second set, we started a little slow, and I called time out when we were down 14-16. The team responded by passing the ball well while Abbey Appelgate served up four or five aces. We came out really flat the third set and played catch-up. Credit C-M for not giving up and taking advantage of our mistakes. The fourth set, the girls really stepped it up, we got our serving going once again, and MacKenzie Schmitz was dead on with her setting for our hitters.”
Despite the team’s effort, the loss is the headline for the Tigerhawks. Warrick saw some specific places for improvement, and he’s confident the team will work through those areas.
“We have some stuff to work on, but we’ll get there. We need to work on a lot of transition stuff, positioning,” Warrick said. “The other team hit at us, and we left some gaps open. It’s things the girls know what to do, it’s just a matter of practicing it.”
Applegate stuck out on the night, hitting 20-for-22 serving with eight aces. She also had two kills and eight digs. Haupert led in kills and digs with 14 digs and 11 kills. Jurgens had eight kills and two blocks. She also had four aces, hitting 13-for-15 serving. Schmitz led with 17 assists. Schmitz stood out serving as well, hitting 14-for-17 with four aces.