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An emotional victory for West volleyball

IOWA CITY— The West High Women of Troy have been on a victorious roll this season, only posting two losses, and those happened last month at Cedar Rapids Prairie’s tournament. Since then big wins have gone into the books, including winning their own West Extravaganza tournament for the first time. However, Tuesday night’s 3-0 win against Prairie will surely rank as a highlight of the 2011 campaign.
Tuesday’s meeting between the no. 6 ranked Women of Troy and the unranked Prairie Hawks marked the first Mississippi Valley Conference home match for West this season. The first since the death of teammate Caroline Found.
“It was very emotional for us,” Coach Kathy Bresnahan said afterward, thanking West’s “tremendous student body,” most of which were wearing “Live Like Line” memorial T-shirts to honor late teammate Caroline Found, the 17-year-old West student fatally injured in a moped accident in August.
“We wanted to play really well tonight,” senior Shelly Stumpff said. “It was amazing having such a big crowd.”
West jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game one, with an ace from Mollie Mason and kill by Laynie Whitehead. A Stumpff kill made it 7-1 and led to a Prairie time-out. West continued to pour on the points with a kill from Kelley Fliehler, and a pair of back-to back kills from freshman Whitehead. The Prairie Hawks narrowed the gap briefly but West powered on to a 25-13 finish.
Game two opened with a trio of kills from Whitehead, Stumpff and Fliehler before the Prairie Hawks posted their first point. An ace from Anna Pashkova made it 6-1; two kills by Olivia Fairfield made it 8-1. Mason put up a kill in the match as did sophomore Hannah Fairfield. Another Stumpff kill shot made it 19-11 and prompted Prairie coach Kevin Geary to call for another time-out. West again closed the deal 25-13.
Whitehead and Hannah Infelt put up kill shots for another early West lead in game three. A Stumpff kill made it 10-3, Caroline Hartman’s kill led to a 16-4 lead and another Prairie time-out. The Women of Troy continued to pound away for the 25-6 final.
The win moved West to 15-2 overall and 3-0 in the MVC Valley Division.
Olivia Fairfield and Stumpff led in kills with 12 apiece. Fliehler, who moved into Found’s role as the team’s setter, put up 33 assists and had “a very nice match” according to Bresnahan. Pashkova came up with 16 digs while Mason was perfect at the line with 13 of 13 serves and an ace.
“It really wasn’t one of our best nights for sure,” Bresnahan said despite the dominating performance. “We’re playing better each night, our kids are fighters, but we’re still a work in-progress.”
West returns to the home court on Tuesday, Sept. 27, to face Linn-Mar.