MONROE — Sophomore Celeste Wagaman didn’t start the match against Des Moines North on Aug. 30. But she made sure to put her imprint on the end result.
Wagaman gave the PCM volleyball team a lift when it needed it most against the Polar Bears, and the Mustangs came from behind in the first two sets and eventually swept away its Class 5A visitors 25-16, 25-10, 25-16.
Wagaman came into the match with her team down 6-1 in the opening set. Her immediate impact at the net helped the Mustangs rally and Wagaman’s kill and block on consecutive plays pushed PCM in front for good.
“I tried to bring us back up when I got in there. I tried to be positive and get the team going,” said Wagaman, who finished with a match-high 10 kills.
The Mustangs were down 6-1 in each of the first two sets. In the opener, PCM turned a 15-13 advantage into a 25-16 win with a 10-3 run. The stretch featured a pair of kills and an ace by sophomore Emma Houser.
Houser and Wagaman are two of the four sophomores who saw significant action on the floor against North. PCM head coach Alex Samson also started two freshmen in Claire Wilson and Chelsea Bird.
“We are growing together. We have two amazing seniors, too,” Wagaman said. “It’s a young team for the most part. We are trying to work well together.”
The Mustangs won their first match of the season against Heart of Iowa Conference foe Saydel but came into their match with the Polar Bears on a seven-match losing streak.
The win dropped North to 0-4 and also gave the Mustangs some needed confidence.
“We got a win, and that feels good. It gives us some confidence,” Samson said. “We were able to just feel better about what we are doing. We were able to relax and work on some of our offense.”
With her team down 6-1, Wagaman entered the floor in the opening set and delivered five kills and a block during a 9-2 run that put the Mustangs up 11-8.
She served up an ace to make it 13-10 a few points later. That’s when Houser went on her strong stretch. Wilson also had a kill in the final stages of the game and junior Chloe Inskeep ended the set with an ace.
The Polar Bears again jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second set. Three straight points, including a Houser ace and a Wilson kill, helped PCM get back into the set.
The Mustangs eventually tied the game at 8-all. With the Mustangs up 11-10, junior setter Shelby Voeller served out the frame to put her team up 2-0.
Voeller had five aces during the 14-0 run. She finished 17-of-20 in serves and had seven aces in the win. She also dished out 18 assists.
PCM got off to a much better start in the third set. A pair of aces by sophomore Jacki Vos helped the Mustangs to a 4-0 lead early. The lead grew to 9-2 after two kills by Wagaman.
Junior Meghan Kinnamon entered the game and immediately delivered an ace to put the Mustangs up 18-7. The Polar Bears got as close as six before eventually losing by nine.
“It’s a confidence booster and will help us a lot going into our weekend tournament. It will help us mentally,” Wagaman said.
Wagaman’s 10 kills is a career high. She had the team’s only block and was 6-of-7 in serves with an ace.
“I hate to use the word starter because it’s basically just part of how we do the rotations,” Samson said of Wagaman not starting the match on the floor. “She is a huge person in our front row. I like to have my outsides follow my setter. I want her to come in for all three rotations in the front row.
“She’s been really staying behind the ball, and it was nice to see her get all those kills tonight.”
Houser complimented Wagaman with seven kills. Vos finished with four kills, and Wilson and sophomore Kassidy Block both had three kills.
Seniors Avery Stock and Allison Wood each had a pair of digs to lead the back row.
Houser was 10-of-11 in serves with five aces. Inskeep finished 12-of-13 with three aces. The Mustangs delivered 17 aces on the night.
Samson said her team really struggled with serve received in the loss to then-ranked Roland-Story on Aug. 28. The second-year PCM coach said it was much better against North.
“Our serve receive has been strong this season, but we struggled with that Tuesday,” Samson said. “We worked on it at practice last night, and it was much better tonight.”
PCM (2-12 overall, 0-1 in conference play) plays Saydel at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 in Des Moines.
Roland-Story 3, PCM 0
MONROE — PCM dropped its first Heart of Iowa Conference match on Aug. 28.
The Mustangs’ home opener went to Roland-Story in three sets. The Norse won the match 25-6, 25-10, 25-10.
Roland-Story improved to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the HOIC.
Wagaman led the Mustangs with four kills, Voeller had five assists and Stock chipped in seven digs.
Vos had two kills, Wood tallied four digs, and the Mustangs were 22-of-27 in serves. Stock was 8-of-9 and Houser was 5-of-5 in serves.
The Norse (7-1, 1-0) had 15 aces and were 70-of-73 in serves in the win. MaKayla Geise had six kills, nine digs and eight aces to lead Roland-Story.
PCM goes 0-5
at BCLUW tournament
CONRAD — PCM struggled at the BCLUW tournament on Sept. 1, losing all five of its matches in straight sets.
The Mustangs dropped to 2-12 on the season after losses to Hudson, North Polk, Benton, South Tama County and host BCLUW.
PCM lost to Hudson 21-6, 21-7, was defeated by North Polk 21-14, 21-10, got swept by South Tama 21-10, 21-10, dropped a two-set match to Benton 21-11, 21-6 and fell to BCLUW 21-9, 21-9.
Against Hudson (10-1), Wagaman and freshman Claire Wilson had the only two kills. Stock had a team-high three digs. The Mustangs were 13-of-13 in serves, led by Inskeep’s 4-for-4 performance.
In the loss to North Polk (7-6), Wilson, Vos and Bird all had two kills. Voeller finished with nine assists, Stock collected seven digs and the Mustangs were 21-of-23 in serves. Inskeep was 6-of-6 in serves and Wagaman was 7-of-7.
Wagaman had two of the Mustangs’ four kills against South Tama. Stock finished with three digs and Inskeep added two aces. Inskeep was 5-of-6 in serves. The Mustangs were 13-of-17 as a team.
In the loss to Benton, Voeller had two assists and Stock collected six digs and one ace. Inskeep had two digs. PCM was 12-of-13 in serves, and Stock led the way at 5-for-5.
The Mustangs had two kills against the host Comets. Wagaman and Wilson each had one.
Voeller dished out two assists and Stock claimed four digs. The Mustangs were 19-of-19 in serves. Stock and Voeller were both 4-of-4.