ANAMOSA - It’s amazing how far the Anamosa volleyball program has come in the last half decade.
It wasn’t too long ago when the Raiders used to struggle to win a game. Now, Anamosa is one of the best teams in the River Valley Conference, and the Raiders went out and showed that high level of play during a perfect 6-0 week that opened Tuesday, Sept. 15, with a 25-20, 25-21, 24-26, 25-10 triumph over Camanche, a program that has given them problems in recent years.
“We struggled from the start with moving our feet and getting to the ball against Camanche,” said Anamosa volleyball coach Caitlin McVay. “Once we got the ball rolling as a team, we had 13 kills in the first set alone. It was fun watching the girls generating their own points.”
Anamosa (13-2, 3-0) finished with an impressive 50 kills in the four-set match, led by a career-best 16 from Kelsey Scofield, while Jaiden Neuhaus added 11 more and Joslin Banowetz 10.
“We were so close to coming back from being behind in the third set,” McVay said. “We were down 20-16 and after a few kills by Jaiden Neuhaus and blocks by Jaiden and Delaney Frater, we were able to tie the score at 24-24.
“The fourth set we had very few errors and were super aggressive and it all worked in our favor. Kelsey had a big night, too.”
Kylie Chapman had a huge night as well setting 45 assists while Raider serving tallied eight aces in the match, led by five from Lauren Martensen and two from Maddie Nemmers.
“Maddie stepped up behind the service line in a tight 11-11 first set taking us to a 17-11 lead before we lost the ball with a pair of aces in the mix that gave the girls some momentum heading into the second set,” McVay said. “In the third set we had some long rallies that didn’t go our way most of the time and Camanche did a great job capitalizing after those long rallies and scoring multiple points in a row.”
Grace Lubben led Anamosa back row players with 20 digs while Lexi Bright added 11 more.
The Raiders continued the River Valley Conference contests, this time hosting Iowa City Regina Thursday, Sept. 17, and in a wild five-set thriller, pulled out a big 23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-13, 15-10 marathon victory.
“This match was a great team effort,” McVay said. “We had five girls with 15 or more attack attempts. That speaks to the efforts of our back row players. Good passes give setters the opportunity to move the ball around more and be in system.”
Anamosa needed all of it against the Regals, as Scofield and Neuhaus each slammed down 10 kills in the match to lead the Raider offense while Banowetz added seven more. Ava Claussen-Tubbs added even more depth coming through with six kills.
“Our blockers did a really nice job getting a lot of touches on hard hits by Regina,” McVay said. “I think that is what gave us the most momentum. Regina was forced to try different things to hit around our blockers which enabled us to stay in system more often.”
The Raiders tallied 14 blocks in the match led by five from Frater, four from Scofield and three from Banowetz, as the trio were all over the net.
“Defensively, all of our back row passers had more than 10 digs a piece (Lubben, Martensen, Bright and Nemmers),” McVay said. “That isn’t an easy accomplishment.”
Chapman set 44 assists for the offense while Anamosa servers connected at a solid 92-percent clip led by a 27-of-28 effort from Chapman. Nemmers ripped three of the Raiders’ eight total aces in the match.
“The girls were tested,” McVay said. “They dropped the first set and third sets by only two points. That can be mentally challenging to get over, but the ladies did a great job of working together and battling through the ups and downs of the momentum pendulum.”
Anamosa looked to keep their winning streak going in Lisbon Saturday, Sept. 19, taking part at the Lions’ annual invitational.
The Raiders opened with a 21-19, 21-7 triumph over Midland before coming back to top class 2A 11th-ranked West Branch in a thrilling 21-17, 4-21, 15-11 finale.
Claussen-Tubbs and Banowetz paced the Anamosa offense against the talented Bears hammering down six kills each while Chapman was the pulse of the offense with 21 assists.
The Raiders completed the perfect tournament with wins over Mediapolis (21-15, 21-8) and Calamus-Wheatland (21-14, 21-17) and stretched their winning streak to eight in a row.
Against Mediapolis, Claussen-Tubbs had another big match slamming down seven kills on a mere 11 attacks while Frater added four more to go with two blocks. Martensen topped Anamosa servers with four aces.