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Close call at home

SOLON– It was another heart attack courtesy the cardiac kids.
Solon’s Lady Spartans had to face down several match points against the 10th-ranked Maquoketa Cardinals last Tuesday (Sept. 4) before climbing out of a 11-14 hole in the fifth and final game.
The No. 8 Lady Spartans won the marathon (25-27, 25-17, 23-25, 25-16, 16-14), one of two home matches last week.
“It surely was quite the match,” offered head coach Peter Gustin. “In the fifth set, we gifted them– off our errors– eight of their first 10 points. When we were down 11-14, it felt as if we hadn’t even given ourselves a chance. Finally, they began to collapse and hand us a few points down the stretch as we strung together some of our strongest rallies of the match.”
Solon allowed the first game to slip away, but seemed to capture momentum in the second. The Lady Spartans roared back in the fourth game after losing a decent lead in the third, but had to rally hard in the final set.
“When the ball finally hit the floor on the match point, it was such a rush,” Gustin observed. “One of our team mottos is to compete together, and we finally felt the aura of that motto.”
Kelsey Cave and Kelsey Hinrichs had 22 kills each to pace the Lady Spartan attack, tied for the fourth-most in the state that week.
Jordan Smith added 11 and Jordan Runge had eight.
“We are playing very inconsistent volleyball right now; however, we’re still finding ways to finish matches,” Gustin commented. “Little by little, we’re shaping up, but we’re not there yet. Maquoketa played some very sound defense against us and made it a real challenge for our hitters, causing them to make too many errors.”
Emma Rickels led the team with 58 assists. Rylee Smith had 32 digs and was 23-23 for serves. The team successfully served 104 of 113 attempts with five aces, three belonging to Hinrichs. Jordan Smith and Cave each had two blocks.
It was an easier time two nights later hosting Williamsburg.
The Lady Spartans took care of business 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-23) Thursday night before heading into a weekend tournament at Linn-Mar.
“We were able to get our entire team extended playing time against Williamsburg,” Gustin said. “The girls did a great job of stepping in and finishing the match. It’s a positive sign seeing our bench succeed.”
Cave led with 11 kills, while Jordan Smith added 10 and Hinrichs seven. Cave and Smith each had two blocks. Rickels led with 24 assists, while Rylee Smith had 11 digs. Hinrichs was 8-8 from the service stripe with two aces, while Taylor Nearad served 13-14.
Solon picked up its second and third losses of the season at the Linn-Mar tournament over the weekend. The Lady Spartans fell to unranked Cedar Rapids Prairie (0-2) and Class 5A No. 6 Pleasant Valley (1-2), but defeated Iowa City Regina, Muscatine, Dubuque Hempstead and Springville.