Mustangs overcome feisty Tigerhawks at home
MONROE — Despite a tough weekend in Pella, where the Mustangs lost all five of their games at the Little Dutch-hosted tournament, Prairie City-Monroe’s volleyball team stayed focused and aggressive on Tuesday night, taking a four-set victory over conference rival Colfax-Mingo, 25-14, 26-24, 23-25, 25-18.
“I think our hitters stayed aggressive, and they stayed smart,” PCM coach Mollie Keitges said. “Our service and passing looked good, which starts it all. We served aggressive.”
PCM took care of the first set, handily beating the Tigerhawks by 11 points. The Mustangs struggled to start the second set, and they found themselves behind 18-16 late, but key kills by Abbi Gilson and Lexi Kain fueled a furious comeback. PCM ended up charging all the way back, and it only needed one extra point to take the second set.
C-M made things interesting again early in the third set, taking a 6-2 advantage. PCM fought back, but a block by Kayla Van Dusseldorp put the Tigerhawks up 7-4. Amy Russell landed an ace serve on the next point to put C-M up by four. PCM’s Ashlee Kain answered with an ace to bring PCM within two at 9-7.
Lexi Kain’s spike pulled PCM within one, and the Mustangs tied the set on the next point. A side out gave the lead and the ball back to the Tigerhawks. C-M rallied for four straight points to take an 18-14 lead. A double tap ended the rally, but Van Dusseldorp blocked the next kill attempt to retake the four-point lead. Gilson led a PCM rally to pull within two at 21-19. C-M made it set-point at 24-20, and it struggled to close out the set, but PCM eventually hit one into the net to make it 25-23.
Courtney Van Houweling kicked off the fourth set with an ace to give PCM the edge. C-M pulled ahead 3-2, but a kill by Van Houweling later on tied things up at five. Van Dusseldorp gave C-M a 6-5 lead with a kill. Lexi Kain answered with a one-armed strike with her back to the net to tie the set at six. PCM retook the lead when C-M went into the net. Lexi Kain served up an ace to make it 9-7, but the Tigerhawks rallied from behind to tie it at 10. Van Houweling spiked one to the floor to make it 11-10.
Jade Lewis scored a kill later on to give C-M a 13-12 lead. Gilson answered with a tip to tie it at 15. Lexi Kain had a spike to make it 16-15. One of the C-M front-line players crossed the midcourt line on the next point, giving the Mustangs a two-point lead. Lexi Kain then had a kill followed by a finesse tip that landed softly to the floor to take a 21-17 edge. Van Houweling ended the match on a tip.
“We just did the little things,” Keitges said. “We had that one-set lapse in there where our communication broke down, but then they were able to pick that back up.”
Colfax-Mingo coach Brian Warrick declined to comment on the match.
Lexi Kain and Gilson led the team with 13 kills apiece, followed by Van Houweling with 12. Lexi Kain’s four aces also led the squad. Van Houweling and Emma Williams had three ace serves. Ashlee Kain, Gilson and Kayla Jennings each had one ace. Cassidy Van Veen’s 13 set assists were tops for the Mustangs. Williams’ nine were second. Jayci Vos had eight. Lexi Kain had the only solo block for the Mustangs.
PCM hosts Roland-Story on Thursday night, which will be a different test for the Mustangs. The Norse will be the last matchup at home for the Mustangs before they head to Fairfield on Saturday to participate in a tournament.
“Any win at this point is good for our morale and confidence,” Keitges said. “We’re playing hard, and we’re doing some really good things. We just have to learn how to put things together and not have the valley. We talked about having more peaks and less valleys. Any victory is going to be great for our mental health. The girls are still working hard, and they’re making progress. We just want to keep working hard through the finish.”