By Steve Peterson
The Lady Westerners were the victim of a Cinderella-like team, also known as the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Eagles, who came to town with a 3-21 record but left with a trip to the regional semifinals in their future after a 3-2 win.
A-W started with a 25-18 win in the First Set. MMC won 25-20 in the Second Set and 25-23 in the Third Set for a 2-1 lead. A-W tied it at 2-2 with a 25-18 win in the Fourth Set and MMC then shocked the home team with a 15-11 win in the tie breaking Fifth Set Oct. 29.
A-W concluded its season at 11-10 overall record.
“It stung a little. We had our best practices of the season the week before and were expecting to come out and play well. MMC was a completely different team than the first time we played them. They blocked us well,” said A-W Co-Coach Inglish Hartwig.
A-W led the Eagles in kills, 36-28; in assists, 34-21; in good serves, 84-80 and in aced serves, 13-11. But MMC won in two areas that allowed the Eagles, who had downed Remsen- St. Mary’s in the first round to advance to Rock Rapids, with a 72-66 edge in digs and a 26-7 lead in total blocks.
Things looked good early on in the First Set for the home team, who were guests on the scoreboard. A-W took a 9-5 lead on two aces by Ann Hedlund. The lead reached 17-9 on two points from Dana Hedlund. Sarah Schroeder brought the home team to a 20-13 lead and Jordan Hansen gave the Lady Westerners a chance at set point and two Dana Hedlund points finished off the Eagles, 25-18.
It was a 7-7 deadlock early in the Second Set. MMC led 11-10, then it was a 13-13 tie. MMC took a 17-15 lead, increased it to 20-17 and stayed three points ahead before winning by five, 25-20 for a 1-1 tie.
A-W was down 9-2 in the Third Set but righted the ship for a 16-14 lead on a kill by Cali Westergard. Hansen gave A-W an 18-15 lead with two points serving. Ties were to be had at 19-19, 20-20, but MMC took a 21-20 lead en route to a 25-23 win and a 2-1 lead.
A-W faced elimination in the Fourth Set. MMC led 6-3 early but A-W gained a 9-9 tie with Dana Hedlund serving. A-W jumped to a 13-9 lead with Kortney Hedlund serving an ace and Bethany Eastman had a kill. A-W led 16-11 on a Westergard kill. The lead grew to 18-11 on two aces by Eastman. MMC cut the lead to 18-16 but the Lady Westerners regained a six-point lead, 23-17, on a kill by Westergard in a series that saw an ace by Kayla Tindall and Westergard won a net battle after a long volley. A-W won 25-18 as Hansen had set up set point with an ace.
It all came down to the Fifth Set.
MMC continued to block well with a 6-3 lead early. A-W gained a tie at 8-8 with Tindall serving. It was 9-9 after an MMC serving error. MMC then took a 10-9 lead but another error and it was a 10-10 tie. The match was there for the taking but the Eagles found the glass slipper with a 5-1 run to win it.
“We had a great season. The girls never gave up and had a great attitude,” said Hartwig.
Playing in their final matches for A-W last Tuesday were seniors Dana Hedlund, Hansen, Tindall, Schroeder and Eastman.
Co-Coaches Hartwig and Kami Kuhlmann closed their rookie seasons and were helped by Tamie Britt for A-W. The Lady Westerners did finish with a better-than .500 overall mark but had downed the Eagles 12 days earlier easily so the loss was a tough one.
Statistics for the winning Eagles, 4-21 record, who gained a spot against No. 4-ranked Class 1A Central Lyon Nov. 1, included Sarah Dreckman with 10 kills and 14 digs and 25-of-29 serving with three aces; Haley Moser had nine kills, 15 digs, 8-of-12 serving with one ace; Alison Meehan had five kills, 12 digs, 10-of-12 serving with two aces.
in the season finale
Westergard led with nine kills and had two total blocks.
Eastman had eight kills, two assists, five digs, one total block and four-of-four serving with two aces.
Hansen had four kills, led with 11 blocks, was 10-of-10 serving with one ace.
Ann Hedlund had four digs, 9-of-11 serving with three aces.
Dana Hedlund had one kill, 32 assists, 11 digs, one total block and 16-of-17 serving with five aces.
Kortney Hedlund had six kills, eight digs, one total block, 12-of-15 serving with one ace.
Desi Oltmanns had eight digs.
Schroeder had five kills, eight digs and 13-of-15 serving.
Tindall had three kills, three digs and 16-of-18 serving with one ace.