W-MU volleyball comes back after first-game loss for homecoming win
WINFIELD — The Winfield-Mt. Union volleyball team picked up a Southeast Iowa Super Conference North Division win over Pekin in its homecoming week match Thursday.
The Wolves fell in their opening set, 25-19, but came back for three straight wins. They too game two by a 25-13 margin, and held off the Panthers in game three for a close victory, 27-25. They wrapped up the contest with a 25-20 win in the fourth game.
The Wolves got the first point of the night on an Erica Robison kill, but overall, they started slow in the match, struggling to put everything together.
“A few too many balls hit the floor and there were a few too many hitting errors — we’ve got to fight that off,” Coach Dave Pieart said. “We let Pekin’s scrambling ability push us into errors, which generated runs for them.”
On the other side of the net, the Panthers came out fighting.
“We were ready to go,” Pekin Coach Ashley Bartels said. “The last few games we haven’t been starting real strong, but we finally turned it around.
“We started off with fire and never let the ball hit the floor,” she added. “Emily Bemis base a huge diving save to keep the momentum going. We had big blocks ... which led them (W-MU) to tip a lot.”
Jessica Horras finished with three blocks on the night, while Peyton Atwood and Madelyn Baker had two apiece. Beth Atwood and Tiana Slaney each had one block in the match.
Pekin took a 13-9 lead in the first game, forcing W-MU to call timeout. But the Wolves still couldn’t quite regroup, and Pekin went on to take the win.
In the second set, however, W-MU was ready for the Panthers.
Robison had a couple early kills on her way to a team-high 14 on the night, and the Wolves soon took a 16-8 lead — a lead they would not relinquish.
“During the second set, we played a little scared when they had a run,” Bartels said. “Then the third and fourth set, we battled from behind and kept it close.”
The Wolves took an 11-6 lead early in the third game, but Pekin never let the set get out of reach, eventually tying the score at 24.
The teams went back and forth for a couple points before the Wolves were able to claim a two-point advantage for the win.
The fourth set looked much the same, as W-MU took a lead early but couldn’t shake the Panthers.
Pekin made a short run at the end, but couldn’t catch the Wolves, who won the game on a Shelby Therme kill and took the match, 3-1.
“(Key to winning) was keeping our composure, fighting off nerves and keeping errors down at key times,” Pieart said.
Therme finished with 10 kills for the Wolves and Emily Mathews added six. Sam Jamison had five kills while Lou Krieger-Coen and Nicole Escher had four each.
Brooke Jennings had 19 assists on the night and Taylor Rodgers added 11.
Layne Davis was a perfect 19-for-19 serving with two aces and Robison had two aces on 19-for-21 serving. Therme was 18-of-21 with an ace. Jennings was 18-for-19, Rodgers was 8-for-9, and Jamison was a perfect 7-for-7.
Robison led the Wolves with six blocks and Escher had four. Mathews and Jamison added three apiece while Krieger-Coen put up two and Therme had one.
Darby Harris and Jamison had a team-high 10 digs apiece. Davis and Robison added seven; Therme and Jennings added five. Escher had three and Rodgers had two.
On Pekin’s side, Beth Atwood had 10 kills while Baker, Slaney and Horras had five each. Peyton Atwood added three.
Whitney Horras had 11 assists and Taiylor Morgan added 10.
Beth Atwood and Slaney had eight digs each, while Cassidy Tolle and Baker added four apiece.
Baker and Slaney each went 19-for-20 serving, and Baker served an ace.
“We made a lot of silly errors and gave them points, but the girls fought hard,” Bartels said. “We just have to battle and believe the entire match that we can come out with the win.”
Pekin is now 8-7 overall and 4-2 in the SEISC North. They host L&M on Tuesday and Highland on Thursday next week.
The Wolves improve to 16-9 overall and are also 4-2 in the conference. They play at Saturday’s New London Tournament, starting at 9 a.m.
“We’ve been in the championship match of that tournament the last four years, and we’ve finished second the last four years,” Pieart said. “We’d like to do one step better.”