COLFAX — The Lynnville-Sully volleyball team has been on a roller coaster ride so far this season.
After a three-set win over Colfax-Mingo on Monday night, L-S head coach Jayme Deal hopes the ride is ready for an uptick.
Sophomore Mallory Loftus had 10 kills to lead the way as the Hawks swept the Tigerhawks 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 during South Iowa Cedar League play in front of a large crowd at Colfax-Mingo High School.
“We were up and then went down and now we are kind of going back up with our momentum,” Deal said. “We are getting better and better as we play.”
While Lynnville-Sully hopes to use the win as momentum moving forward, Colfax-Mingo coach Michelle Grant is still trying to figure out her young squad.
The Tigerhawks had way too many errors against the Hawks and simply couldn’t get over the hump in all three sets.
“We are erroring ourselves to death. We are burying the ball in the net too much,” Grant said. “We have to know ‘this is a good ball and I can crush it’ and ‘this isn’t a good ball and I need to just put this ball in play.’ We need to understand situations better. It’s OK to play defense sometimes and let them have to get it back to us. There will be other balls to crush.”
The loss by the Tigerhawks put a damper on a night where the team recognized the Carlson family before the game. The players and some fans wore “Tigerhawks for Ty” T-Shirts during the contest. The team gave flowers to the Carlson family, too.
Ty Carlson was a 2015 graduate who was killed in an auto accident last month. His younger sister, Taylor, is a current member of the Colfax-Mingo volleyball team.
“I think it struck a cord with everybody,” Grant said. “He meant a lot to this entire community. It’s hard for me to remember sometimes that he graduated just a year ago basically. So the juniors and seniors in the school knew him well. We wanted the Carlson to know that we are here for them.”
On the court, the first set was back-and-forth until the Hawks (3-6 overall, 1-1 in the SICL) pulled away late.
The opener was tied 11 times through the first 40 points. The Hawks won five of the final six points to claim an early lead in the match.
The second set was not like the first one. Lynnville-Sully got out to an early lead and then a long service run by junior Carson Fisk gave the visitors a 14-4 lead.
Colfax-Mingo rallied though. Senior Ries Wilson and junior Colbee Cunningham recorded back-to-back kills to close the gap and Cunningham put down two more later in the set to bring the Tigerhawks within 15-9.
Backed by several Lynnville-Sully errors, Wilson got her team in front with a crafty tip to an open space on the floor.
That point completed the rally and gave the Tigerhawks a 22-21 lead, but the Hawks scored the next three to get to game point. A Colfax-Mingo error put L-S up 2-0 in the match.
“We have been working hard on keeping our energy high throughout each game,” Deal said. “They rallied there on us, but to be that low with our momentum and still come out on top was huge for us attitude wise. It’s what we needed.”
The Tigerhawks jumped out to an early lead in the third set, but it was short lived. Lynnville-Sully turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
After playing even for several points, Colfax-Mingo (3-4, 1-1) rolled off four straight points, including two aces from Wilson, to lead 11-7. That was countered by a run by the Hawks that tied it.
There were two more ties the rest of the way and neither team held more than a two-point lead until a Fisk kill put the Hawks up 18-15.
Lynnville-Sully stayed in front the rest of the way and Loftus finished off the victory with a smash.
Four different players for Lynnville-Sully had at least three kills in the win. Senior McKinley Conover had three kills, 18 digs and two aces, Fisk added four kills, 15 digs and three aces and junior Shiloh Cunningham chipped in three kills and five blocks.
“I think we showed tonight that we can go to anybody for points,” Deal said.
The Hawks were 80-of-89 in serves. Fisk was 23-of-24 from behind the service line. Senior Camryn Russell was 16-of-17, and senior Skyler Young finished 13-of-14. Young also had a team-high 19 assists.
Defensively, the Hawks’ No. 1 priority was to find a way to slow down Wilson, who is one of the better hitters in the SICL. Wilson finished with nine kills, but the Hawk defense did a good job keeping her in check.
“We needed to let her hit first and see where it goes,” Deal said. “Then we adjust to see where we have to defend. If we are covering it, she’ll find somewhere else to go and then we have to follow her the best we can.
“Our digging and our passing were on tonight. We knew we’d have to focus on her and for the most part we did a good job.”
Cunningham finished with a career-high seven kills for the Tigerhawks but no other Colfax-Mingo player had more than two. The Tigerhawks had 21 kills and 25 hitting errors in the loss.
“As much as we feel like we are experienced with Ries (Wilson) and Megan (Earles), we still have two freshmen on the floor,” Grant said. “It’s a knowledge thing. We are still learning a lot about ourselves. We’re still finding ourselves. I am not worried. We beat ourselves tonight, and the games were still close.”
Earles collected 17 assists and eight digs. Wilson and junior Chelsea Russell each had eight digs and Cunningham had six. Wilson served up four aces.
Both teams go on the road Thursday for a pair of SICL contests. Lynnville-Sully travels to BGM and Colfax-Mingo heads to Class 1A No. 13 Montezuma. Both varsity matches start at 7 p.m.