Huskies and Ravens pick up wins in SEISC tournament

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 9/29/21

The South division dominated the final day of the SEISC Volleyball Tournament at Southeastern Community College in Burlington on Saturday. 

All four teams in the semifinal matches were ranked …

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Huskies and Ravens pick up wins in SEISC tournament

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The South division dominated the final day of the SEISC Volleyball Tournament at Southeastern Community College in Burlington on Saturday. 

All four teams in the semifinal matches were ranked in the top 10, and all four were members of the SEI Super Conference South. 

Burlington Notre Dame, ranked No. 1 in 1A defeated No. 5 Holy Trinity 25-18, 16-25, and 15-10 to win the conference title. In the third place match, 3A No. 8 West Burlington took both sets from 1A No. 10 New London 25-16 and 27-25. 

Three teams from the SEISC North reached Saturday’s tournament quarterfinals by finishing in the top two at one of the four sites in pool play on Thursday. 

Mediapolis, Winfield Mt. Union and Wapello each finished second in pool play, advancing to the quarterfinals at SCC. Mediapolis fell in three sets to West Burlington, while WMU was swept by Notre Dame. Wapello gave New London a great effort, but lost both sets 30-28 and 28-26. 

Highland finished third in pool play at New London, while Hillcrest and Lone Tree finished fourth and fifth at the pool in Wapello. 

 

Huskies top Wildcats

The Huskies, seeded third in the New London pool, opened play on Thursday with a critical match against the second-seed Central Lee. 

Highland kept the first set close and trailed just 18-16 before the Hawks scored the final three points of the set. Central Lee took the second set 21-15. 

Highland head coach Gina Trower felt the Huskies beat themselves with errors in the opening match. 

“Serve receive started out pretty level and then we got in our own minds again,” Trower said. “I think every coach and team goes through this at some point throughout the season. Central Lee is a team that I would like Highland to face again at some point because I think reducing our errors can bring us closer to that W or even bring in the W.”

The Huskies were swept by the top seed New London, but bounced back for a 21-12, 21-13 win over Columbus in the final match to finish third. 

“Columbus has always been a hit or miss game for Highland in past years,” Trower said. “Columbus had a busy week of volleyball before finally arriving at the SEISC Tournament, but they still gave us a run for our money, especially in the first set.”

With the win, Highland (8-8) has already eclipsed its win total from last season. 

“We are fortunate to face Columbus later in the season as well, where we can take the skills learned in practice onto the court when we face them,” Trower said. 

The rematch with the Wildcats is scheduled for Thursday, September 30, which is also senior night for the Huskies. 

 

Ravens avenge loss to LT

The third-seeded Hillcrest Ravens opened up against site host Wapello on Thursday. A win over pool number one seed Holy Trinity would be a tall task for either team, making the first match of the day essentially a must-win game for both Wapello and Hillcrest. 

The Ravens were swept by Wapello 25-12, 25-14, and 25-8 in the regular season, but gave the Arrows a battle on Thursday before falling 21-14 and 21-18. 

“Our passing was as good as we’ve had all year, which led to a great attack game,” Hillcrest coach Brandon Statler said. “I really felt we won the volley for the match, and outplayed them, aside from our service errors. You really need those serves to win a tough game, and we fell short in that category.”

Vlada Conea led the Ravens with five kills in the match, while Esther Hughes and Malia Yoder each had three. Hughes had two blocks and Norah Yoder had 11 assists.

Wapello had the edge in serving with a percentage of 92.7, while the Ravens were 25-for-32 (78.1 percent). 

After dropping a close second set, the Ravens struggled with their energy level against Danville. Hillcrest was swept 21-14 and 21-14 by the fourth-seeded Bears. Malia Yoder had 14 digs in the match. 

The third game on Saturday was a rematch with Lone Tree, who defeated Hillcrest in five sets on September 2. 

The Lions were missing a couple players from the first meeting, but Hillcrest was playing like a different team as well. The Ravens played with purpose in set one, taking leads of 10-1 and 15-2 on the way to a 21-5 win. Hillcrest took the second set 21-17 for the sweep. 

“We still hadn’t won a game when we played them a few weeks ago,” Statler recalled. “We were breaking through barriers. First we won a set, then two sets, then two matches, then that first conference win that Hillcrest hadn’t had in three years, which is now a few wins.”

Hughes had five kills and three aces in the Ravens’ fifth win of the season. 

Conea and Malia Yoder each had three. Norah Yoder had 10 assists and three aces in the win. Hillcrest was swept by No. 5 Holy Trinity, dropping to 5-18 for the season. 

“I have felt all year that I see a different team in practice than we see during games,” Statler said. “They have been breaking through barriers, one step at a time, all year, and Wapello was another step. I hope we proved to ourselves that we are capable of beating a contender in league-leading Wapello.”

On Monday, the Ravens easily defeated Rivermont Collegiate on senior night. After 25-5 and 25-10 wins, Hillcrest finished the sweep with a dominant 25-2 set three.

Senior Kyleigh Dolan had nine of the Ravens’ 34 aces. Senior Norah Yoder had 12 assists while Hughes had four kills and five aces. Grace Miller had a pair of kills and her fellow senior Evelyn Gerber had an assist and an ace in the win. 

Freshman Malia Yoder had 12 aces and Conea led the Ravens with seven kills, while Kylee Statler had three.   

 

Yoder steps into lineup

Lone Tree was the fifth seed in Wapello and dropped all four matches in straight sets. 

The Lady Lions have been playing short handed for much of September with a couple injuries and an illness. With the backup setter already at home sick, an injury to the starting setter on Wednesday left Lone Tree in a tough position for Thursday’s tournament. 

“The team had less than 45 minutes to make adjustments at practice, so going into the conference tournament with four matches, it seemed like a very daunting task for everyone,” coach Lora Sieverding explained. 

While Lone Tree was unable to take a set on Thursday, some young players stepped up and got some varsity experience in some big games. 

“Our freshman class has many athletes ‘to keep an eye on’, and one of those is Hayden Yoder, who shows great potential as a setter and all around general athlete,” Sieverding said.  “We opted to bring Hayden into the varsity setting position. For Hayden coming into that situation, shows a ton of mental toughness and fortitude on her part.”

While the Lone Tree varsity didn’t have much time to get used to Hayden’s sets or how she moves on the court, Sieverding said they did a good job of adjusting throughout the day. Back up setter Kayla Dautremont had not practiced at all over the last two weeks, but she was in uniform on Thursday and gave her freshman teammate a few breaks. 

“Another shout out goes to sophomore Hogan Eden, who came up to varsity to help with our defense when we lost the other two,” Sieverding said. “I really felt she grew a lot last night — getting herself into position quicker and making better passes.”

 Lone Tree fell to  Mediapolis on Monday 25-21, 25-9, 25-23 and has a record of 4-14 Heading into its home tournament on Tuesday, September 28. 

 “We are just focusing on how we finish this season,” Sieverding said.“We have several conference matches to go and hope to have a strong postseason run. 

“We have seven seniors who have worked hard and have high expectations for how we will end their final season. If we can get everyone healthy and our team firing on all cylinders at the same time, it will be a fun ride as we conclude their volleyball careers.”

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