CASCADE - Opening the Cascade volleyball tournament against one of the toughest teams there in class 1A sixth-ranked Springville Saturday, Aug. 29, Anamosa volleyball coach Caitlin McVay sorely wanted to make an immediate statement against the talented Orioles.
“The girls set the tone of the game from behind the service line,” said McVay, as her team pulled out a thrilling 21-9, 21-19 triumph to open the tournament.
“They could not miss spots given to them on the court. They also did a good job keeping Springville’s attackers out of system on the first ball. Our energy to begin the match was something I hadn’t seen from this group yet this season. I had to tell them to tap the breaks in fear they would tire themselves out before the end of the match.”
Anamosa’s serving was sensational, connecting at a 97-percent clip with 10 going for aces led by three each from Lexi Bright and Delaney Frater. Kylie Chapman chipped in with two more aces to go with 18 assists.
Cecilia Venenga played a huge role in the win as well hammering down six kills for a Raider offense that produced a total of 18 of them in the two-set contest.
Joslin Banowetz and Kelsey Scofield added four kills each while Jaiden Neuhaus chipped in with three.
Grace Lubben kept things flowing from the back row coming up with a team-best six digs while Bright, Neuhaus and Lauren Martensen all came through with four more each.
“Against good programs like Springville, they will capitalize on any opportunities they get,” McVay said. “The girls did a great job of staying even-keeled even when the Orioles went on a few runs. They stayed with the game plan and got the job done.”
Anamosa (4-1) kept the winning ways going in their next match against Central Elkader, claiming a 21-10, 21-18 victory.
“We struggled a bit offensively, but defensively we did well and that evened things out,” McVay said. “Different people got some different opportunities, which is something we all like to have happen. While we weren’t always playing our sharpest in this match, instead of falling apart the girls stayed positive and kept barreling through the errors to still come out on top together.”
Venenga again powered the offense with five kills while Chapman set nine assists. The serving corps weren’t quite as sharp as they were in the opener against Springville, drilling 93-percent over the net led by two aces from Chapman.
The tournament finale saw the Raiders handed their first setback of the 2020 campaign, dropping a tight 21-16, 10-21, 7-15 decision against Dubuque Senior.
“What a fun game,” McVay said. “The pace of this match was fast and it was close the entire first set. Offensively, everyone was being aggressive and the girls kept Dubuque Senior out of system a lot. The second and third sets Senior played really well and were hitting some shots that we just couldn’t pick up.
“The girls still played well, and we learned a lot about what we can get better at for the rest of the season.”
Scofield drilled five kills in the match while Banowetz added four more with Chapman setting 15 assists.
The 2020 campaign opened in Wyoming Tuesday, Aug. 25, with a triangular against Vinton-Shellsburg and host Midland.
The Raiders opened the night with an impressive three-set 25-19, 21-25, 15-8 victory over the Vikings.
“Great game to start the season,” McVay said. “We really served strong and didn’t show too many ‘first game of the season nerves’ during the first set. We played collectively and made good decisions with the ball.”
Banowetz’s seven kills paced offense while Neuhaus added six more keying a 23-kill attack.
Chapman set 19 assists while Frater was a force at the defensive net with an impressive five blocks while Lubben (14) and Neuhaus (10) both tallied double-digit digs.
Anamosa completed the sweep with a 25-11, 25-15 triumph over the host Eagles.
“I thought the girls did a good job of adapting to different line-ups,” McVay said. “Being early in the season we are still figuring out what works best for us and I thought the girls did a nice job playing in different positions and rotations.”
Seven different girls hammered down kills in the match, led by six from Scofield while Lubben was busy in the back row coming up with 15 digs. Bright had a big night at the service line connecting for six aces going 16-of-17 overall. Martensen was 10-of-11 and tallied three more aces for the visitors.