MONROE — Alex Samson was admittedly nervous about her first home volleyball match as Prairie City-Monroe’s new coach.
It turned out, the former Mustang player had nothing to worry about in her home coaching debut.
Samson’s younger sister Maddie finished with 12 kills and six aces to lead the Mustangs, and the squad snapped a six-match losing streak with an easy 25-10, 25-8, 25-13 sweep of Saydel during Heart of Iowa Conference play Thursday night.
“I was nervous being at home for the first time as a new coach. The crowd was awesome. It’s exciting to be back here in front of so many people that you know,” Coach Samson said. “We needed this one to get some confidence back. We had been on a losing streak so we are glad that is over.”
The Mustangs (6-9 overall, 1-1 in the HOIC) lost every game it played during the six-match losing streak. That trend was shifted in the other direction quickly Thursday.
PCM and Saydel were tied at 4-all early in the first set, but the Mustangs won 21 of the next 27 points to get an early lead on the scoreboard.
Serving was the Mustangs’ friend against Saydel. PCM served up 17 aces and were 63-of-68 in the match.
“We have been talking about serving all season. We have worked on it a lot, too,” Coach Samson said. “We preach ‘get it over and get it in.’ It hasn’t always gone well, but we served well tonight.”
Saydel managed to stay even with PCM through the first 10 points of the second set. Senior Kenzie Johnson gave the Mustangs a lead for good, and Maddie Samson put the team up 7-5 with one of her six aces.
A pair of Maddie Samson’s aces in the match just barely made it over the net. She clipped the top of the net and the ball bounced over and into an open spot on the floor. According to the Mustang junior, the soft serve is intentional.
“We have been working on those a lot. Most of the time we try those when they set up their defense a certain way,” Maddie Samson said. “They were set up really long tonight so I tried to drop it in a few times in front of them. I was able to find that donut hole in the middle.”
After PCM took the lead, junior Avery Stock extended the advantage with a kill and an ace to make it 10-6.
After Saydel (1-5, 0-3) scored to close within three, the Mustangs rattled off nine straight points to pull away.
Maddie Samson finished off the set with a pair of kills.
“We had a great student section so we needed to win in front of our fans,” Maddie Samson said. “Our team has so much energy this year, and it showed tonight.”
Samson gave the Mustangs a 5-3 lead early in set three with back-to-back kills. She had three aces during the set, too, and PCM won easily to close out the victory.
The win matched the Mustangs’ win total from all of last year.
“It was really good to get this one at home,” Coach Samson said. “We stayed focused the entire night.”
Maddie Samson recorded 12 of the team’s 20 kills. Senior Regan Olson had three kills and Stock had two. Senior Madison Foster chipped in 14 assists.
Olson connected on all 15 of her serves and had five aces, Foster was 8-of-8 in serves with two aces, Johnson finished 13-of-14 with two aces and Stock was 10-for-10 with two aces.
The Mustangs finished with 10 digs as a team. Samson finished with three and Johnson, senior Olivia Lippman and Stock all had two digs.
Fifteen matches into a season coached by her sister, Maddie Samson said things are going well overall.
“We turn off the sister mode during the match. I want her to have full coachability of me during games,” Maddie Samson said. “She has a lot of experience so I just try to take in something from her every day and that is helping me a lot. The best thing we think alike about a lot of stuff.”
The Mustangs look to surpass last year’s win total when they play in the North Mahaska tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday in New Sharon.