BAXTER — Confidence is everything.
Collins-Maxwell/Baxter’s volleyball team kept its season going in a straight set win on Tuesday night over Colfax-Mingo 25-15, 25-14, 25-20. CMB has come a long way from the group of girls that broke camp for the Raiders in late August, according to coach Scott Ranck. Ranck noted the radical difference in confidence and self-assuredness from August to now.
“We had a lot of young players at the start of the year,” he said. “Just going through our conference, which is such a tough conference every night, and learning from things we did right and mistakes they just started to gel. We just gained more confidence as the year went on, which is what you would hope of young kids.”
Senior Abbie Haupert showed some talent and enthusiasm during the match, getting her teammates involved in celebrations following every kill. The senior was the most polished Raider player coming into the year, but Ranck commented that what has been the key to CMB’s improvement is getting auxiliary players to step up when they needed it.
“We have been working on that,” Ranck said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt in anybody’s mind who our go-to person is, but throughout the year, different girls have kind of stepped up each night. Alex Hiavacek had three kills early in the game. Payge (Jurgens) came on there at the end, It’s just nice to see the improvement they have made. “
CMB jumped out to a fast start. Locked up in a close set early, Haupert took control, serving up an ace to break a 6-6 tie. Jurgens spiked a kill to the floor later on to give CMB an 11-7 lead. That thunderous spike prompted C-M coach Brian Warrick to call for a breather. Coming out of the timeout, Haupert served home another ace to take a 13-7 edge.
The Tigerhawks fought back, with Amy Russell answering on an ace serve. However, Katie Ziesman spiked one for a kill to make it 14-9. Jurgens and Ziesman each scored kills on back to back points. A later ace by Jurgens made it 20-11. With Haupert serving, Jurgens had a tip to bring it to set point. Mackenzie Schmitz’ ace ended the first set.
CMB opened the second set on a 5-2 run, which included two aces by Hannah McWhirter and a kill by Haupert. Anna Baldwin answered with a kill for the Tigerhawks, and an ace by Allison Teed brough C-M within one point. CMB began to pull away yet again when Rylee Thompson scored a kill to bring the score to 11-8.
Abbey Applegate, Haupert and McWhirter scored the next five points for the Raiders, putting CMB ahead 17-9. Schmitz was once again the girl on the service line as the set ended in favor of the Raiders.
CMB lightened the mood with an early kill by Haupert. The senior rose up from the floor for a kill, but mistimed her hit. As the ball landed to the floor, both she and Ranck exchanged laughs and shrugs as if to say, “It’s just one of those nights.”
Applegate scored an ace serve to make it 5-2. C-M’s Jade Lewis answered with a later ace to make it 5-2. Schmitz had an ace to pull ahead 9-5. CMB took a 14-7 lead on a spike. C-M rallied back, and Lewis’ kill made the score 17-12. Haupert scored a kill in the longest back and forth rally of the match to make it 19-12. C-M rallied to pull within four points, but they hit the ball into the net, ending the match and the season for the Tigerhawks.
It was a forgettable season for C-M. The Tigerhawks netted five wins on the season, but with only three seniors leaving the team, next year could be a bounce back season.
Ranck emphasized the fast start as a big reason for the Raider win. He knows that needs to continue when the Raiders face West Marshall on Oct. 29.
“We’ve been really been working on starting strong and getting focuses,” he said. “We have had a stretch the last two or three matches where that hasn’t happened. It was almost like we were waiting for tournaments to starts, and tonight they come out and do this. So, there you go. We had good serves, moved our feet, talked and had lots of energy.”