By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– Even if they’re not hitting on all cylinders, the West High Women of Troy can still knock out tough teams and rack up victories. Such was the case Tuesday, Sept. 24, as the Linn-Mar Lions visited Trojan Nation.
“Everybody’s sick and I thought we looked like we didn’t have any energy,” said coach Kathy Bresnahan, battling her own voice-depleting virus. Despite the various illnesses, and Hannah Fairfield sidelined by injury, the Women of Troy tamed the Lions, 3-0.
The first set saw West take a 4-2 lead and extend it to 19-12 before the 25-18 final. Laynie Whitehead took a pass from Lizzy Klemme and turned it into a kill for the books. “Straight down the line. That was about the prettiest damn hit I’ve seen at West High, ever. That was a nice play,” Bresnahan said.
The momentum continued into game two with the Women of Troy taking a 5-1 lead and sending the Lions to a timeout to regroup. Toni Martins put up one of her six kills on the night to make it 8-4 and West went on a safari for the 25-19 win. The third set was a little tougher as the Lions fought for a fourth set, taking a 2-1 lead and leading by one point throughout the game. Mollie Mason had a kill to make it 10-10, Whitehead scored to break that tie. Martins made it 13-13 ahead of a 16-14 deficit which prompted Bresnahan to call for a timeout.
A Troy rally gave the home team a 20-18 lead but a string of mistakes again tied the set at 21-all before finally sealing the 25-23 win. The coach admitted she would not have been surprised had the match gone to four sets. “I know they’re much improved. I was concerned because Linn-Mar’s been playing so hot on the weekends (at tournaments), they beat Solon, they went four games with City High. I’m pleased we took that 3-0.”
The coach added, “I thought at times we passed fairly well, I thought our outsides (Martins, Whitehead and Mason) did a really incredible job finding openings, and at times we played some okay defense.” Even with the 12-5 record the win brought, and a perfect record in conference play, improvement is a continuing process for the West girls.
“From the start of the season, we’re making baby steps forward. We’re much more consistent, but we still make too many goofy errors.”
Mason was the lead assassin for West with 14 kills to her credit, Whitehead and Martins posted eight each while Mikaela Morgan had six, Ali Tauchen made three, Emily Halverson and Klemme had one each. Whitehead made 25 assists, putting her height to good use as a setter as well as an attacker, while fellow setter Klemme had 11. Mason was perfect in serves, making 14-14 with a pair of aces, Madi Miller, the Libero, was a perfect 12-12 with one ace, Klemme went 15-16, Tauchen went 10-11 with an ace, Morgan was 4-4 and Martins was 6-6 while Whitehead was 8-9.
Defensively Halverson and Tauchen had three blocks each while Mason and Morgan both had one.
The famous “Battle for the Spike” will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at City High ahead of the Saturday, Oct. 12, Westside Volleyball Invitational. West will host Cedar Rapids Kennedy for the final regular season home match on Tuesday, Oct. 15, before the MVC tournament, and closing-out the season at Cedar Rapids Prairie on Oct. 21. Regional play begins on Monday, Oct. 28.