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West wins 3-0 over Jefferson

Balanced attack thwarts J-Hawks
West High coach Randy Dolson goes over some key tactical pointers during a timeout Tuesday, Sept. 2, at home against Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The Women of Troy took out the J-Hawks 3-0. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

IOWA CITY– The Women of Troy opened the 2014 MVC volleyball season ranked fifth in the state and with a 2-1 record Tuesday, Sept. 2, at home against the J-Hawks of Cedar Rapids Jefferson. West had knocked off North Scott and No. 6 Pleasant Valley before falling to Bettendorf in MVC/MAC play, while the J-Hawks had yet to take to the court.
West took care of the visitors in a 3-0 sweep to improve to 3-1 while dropping one spot in the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union rankings issued Thursday, Sept. 4. Ankeny Centennial at 7-0 was at the top of the list with Dowling Catholic second (6-0), Bettendorf third (5-0), Johnston moved from 10th to fourth while still only 1-0, and Ankeny took the number five slot at 0-1, dropping from second the week before.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Coach Randy Dolson said after the match. “We’ve still got a lot of young kids out there, we’re still learning what defense we’re in… I’m really trying to work on a trust factor, and that comes with communication.” Dolson added his players needed to communicate a bit more to build the trust that, “we’re in the right spots.”
West took a 10-7 lead in the first set prompting a timeout by Jefferson. Michaela Morgan dropped the ball over the net to make it 12-9 as West steadily built its lead. The J-Hawks kept pace and prompted Dolson to call for timeout with the score at 16-15 in favor of the Women of Troy. The J-Hawks briefly took the lead, 17-16, before Ali Tauchen tied the game. West held Jefferson in check for the rest of the set, winning 25-20.
Game two was another tight match with the J-Hawks capitalizing on West miscues and powered by standout Amanda Ollinger. On the Trojan side of the net, sophomore Emma Norris, Tauchen, Emily Halverson and Laynie Whitehead put up points giving West a 16-14 lead. Anna Mabry, a junior, put away the match point for the 25-21 win.
West dominated the third set, winning 25-14, with Tauchen, Halvorsen, Norris and Whitehead putting points on the board.
Between Ollinger and ball handling issues, Dolson said his team had their hands full. “We’re a pretty decent ball handling team and I don’t know why tonight that was a little off. But who doesn’t like a win? You don’t have to play your best all the time, you wish you could but you’re not going to, so if you can get these wins, and not at your best… that’s fine.” The coach added the team is going to improve every time out on the floor as the season unfolds.
As for Ollinger, “everyone knows she’s a great player, last year they (West) lost to Jefferson (in a regional semifinal match). I don’t want to say that was in the back of their minds, but they know the type of player that she is. But, we weren’t going to let one player defeat us.” Dolson said his crew needed to slow her down, frustrate her a little bit.
What were the keys to the win? “Perseverance,” Dolson said. “We played in spurts, we looked good at times and other times… we didn’t. So we had to persevere through those little rough patches.” A balanced attack helped, too, with seven kills each for Morgan and Norris, five each for Whitehead, Tauchen and Mabry and two for Halverson. Whitehead and Tauchen also had a pair of ace serves each.
Dolson’s crew hosts their invitational tournament, “The Caroline Found Extravaganza,” on Saturday, Sept. 13, with Dubuque Wahlert, Washington, Davenport North, Marshalltown, Beckman, Waterloo Columbus, Pella Christian, Ankeny, Dowling Catholic, Mount Vernon and Holy Trinity on the slate. The action starts at 9 a.m.
On Tuesday, Sept. 16, Dubuque Senior visits with varsity action starting around 7 p.m.