By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– Two out of three wasn’t bad.
The West High Women of Troy swept the Waterloo East High Trojans 3-0 Tuesday, Sept. 3, at home in varsity volleyball action. West took the first set 25-18, but it was a hard-fought win.
“We weren’t ready to play that first one, were we?” coach Kathy Bresnahan asked rhetorically afterward.
Laynie Whitehead opened with a pair of kills for West, but the game quickly went south as West dropped into a hole. In a rare move, Bresnahan substituted all six varsity players with junior varsity (JV) off the bench. “Our JV kids came in and did an incredible job,” she said, adding she probably hasn’t done that in 20 years of coaching.
The switch worked as West battled back to a series of ties, and then took a 19-15 lead on the way to the win.
The shaky start to the night was quickly overcome as the Women of Troy dominated the second and third sets, 25-3 and 25-5. “Anytime we make a mistake we just come back and say, ‘next ball,’ and that’s what we said out there. ‘Next ball, new game, forget about it.’” Bresnahan said. The coach said the team’s biggest challenge was offense and staying focused.
“I’d love to say we’re that good, but we’re not. Waterloo struggled tonight; it was their errors (that West turned into points). Sometimes we did some nice plays,” Bresnahan said.
She singled-out Lizzy Klemme and Whitehead for their work as setters, noting they “did a nice job of distributing the ball.” Whitehead led West with eight kills, Klemme had one kill, six assists and served up a perfect baker’s dozen, going 13-13 with a pair of aces for good measure. In the back row, Madi Miller and Mollie Mason drew the coach’s praise. Hannah Fairfield, Veronika Graves and Emily Halverson put up four kills each as well.
The win moved West to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in the MVC. The Women of Troy fell to Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley in a season-opening shootout Thursday, Aug. 29, at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, and knocked-off North Scott.
West hosts its own tournament, the Caroline Found Extravaganza on Saturday, Sept. 14, with Dubuque Wahlert Catholic, Washington, Davenport North, Marshalltown, Davenport Central, Dyersville Beckman Catholic, Waterloo Columbus, Pella Christian, Des Moines Dowling, Mount Vernon and Holy Trinity Catholic expected to participate.
West entered the season ranked 10th in Class 5A according to the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, and dropped out of the top-10 in the Thursday, Sept. 5, rankings while Bettendorf was ranked No. 1 with a 5-0 record.