Indians win home tourney for 5th straight year
Make that five straight for the Spirit Lake volleyball team, as the Indians clinched yet another first-place finish at their home tournament held Saturday.
Spirit Lake defeated Sheldon, West Bend-Mallard, Estherville Lincoln Central and North Union twice. The Indians' lone loss came to North Iowa, as they went 5-1 on the day.
"It all started back in 2014 with some gritty kids who were hungry for success," Spirit Lake coach Beau Dielschneider said of his team's win streak. "To see the program build from them and continue the tradition of winning this tournament has been very fun for me to watch as a coach. I couldn't be more proud of the girls."
Dielschneider said his squad, which fell out of the Class 3A rankings last week for the first time since debuting at No. 13 in the preseason, saw areas that it needs to improve despite earning the championship.
"The tournament gave us a great idea of what we need to work on as we enter the conference part of our season," he said. "We need to get to a point where we can find consistency no matter who we play. This past weekend, we won the entire tournament and played some awesome volleyball, but we did let one get away from us that we were not expecting. I think that is where we can look a little deeper to find what we can do to come out on top in matches where things just aren't going our way. Getting just a little bit better each day and trusting that our training will get us through some of the valleys during our games will be helpful."
The Indians topped North Union 21-17, 21-8 and 21-10, 21-9 in two matches.
Junior Jordyn Hamm led the way with a total of 15 kills, five blocks and six aces.
Junior Emma Loveall totaled 13 kills, 11 digs, two blocks and three aces.
Senior Mikia Kriener totaled 12 kills, 11 digs, three blocks and two aces.
Senior Payton Ahrenstorff totaled 25 digs and two aces.
Junior Emma Jenness totaled 43 assists and two blocks.
Senior Cameron Quance had 11 digs and an ace.
Freshman Brooke Smith had three total blocks.
Spirit Lake defeated Sheldon 21-14 and 21-15.
Loveall had 12 kills, four digs and an ace.
Kriener had eight kills, five digs and two blocks.
Ham had five kills, four digs, five blocks and two aces.
Jenness had 22 assists, one block and one ace.
Ahrenstorff and Quance had nine digs each. Freshman Tori Zemler had two blocks.
Spirit Lake defeated West Bend-Mallard 21-7 and 21-6.
Loveall had 11 kills and an ace.
Freshman Brooke Smith had five kills.
Hamm had four kills, a block and was 13-13 serving with five aces.
Ahrenstorff had nine digs and two aces. Kriener had three kills, five digs and an ace. Quance was 5-5 serving with three aces.
Spirit Lake defeated ELC 21-15 and 21-14.
Kriener and Hamm had nine kills each. Kriener tacked on two blocks. Hamm had four blocks and an ace.
Loveall had seven kills, five digs and a block.
Ahrenstorff had 15 digs and was 11-13 serving with an ace.
Jenness dished out 24 assists and picked up seven digs.
Smith had three kills and Quance had an ace.
In their loss to North Iowa, the Indians took a 1-0 lead with a 21-13 win in set one, but fell 21-19 in set two and 15-9 in the third and final set.
Kriener had nine kills, one block and one ace.
Hamm had seven kills, two blocks and five aces.
Smith had six kills.
Jenness had 23 assists and two aces.
Ahrenstorff had 13 digs and an ace.
Dielschneider said he was happy with the Indians' balanced attack on the weekend. Loveall had 43 kills. Kriener had 41. Hamm had 40.
"Seeing the attacks so evenly balanced is a good sign for us moving forward," he said. "They are three of the best in the business when it comes to volleyball. Brooke Smith also had kind of a break out tournament for us, getting 18 kills and only four errors. That gave her a .368 hitting efficiency for the weekend, which is very good."
Dielschneider was also pleased with the play of his senior libero, Ahrenstorff, who recently announced her verbal commitment to play volleyball at the University of Northern Iowa.
"Payton crushed it again this weekend leading us in digs and making some huge plays," he said. "There was even one moment where she was so relentless on pursuing the ball that she ended up hurdling our entire bench to try to make a play. She also passed near a 2.4 for us on the day out of serve receive, which is extremely good."
The Indians' head coach also highlighted the play of Jenness at setter.
"For those paying attention, Emma Jenness continues to add assists to her tally," Dielschneider said. "She is now up to 405 and leads Class 3A. She kind of quietly goes about it on the court and flies under a lot of team's radars, but she is a fierce competitor just like her sister."
After the weekend, the Indians also lead the Class 3A charts in ace serves.
"We really wanted to focus on our serving and aces for the weekend as well," Dielschnedier said. "We think that if we can serve tougher, we can play a more complete game."
Spirit Lake (16-4) returned to action Tuesday in their Lakes Conference opener on the road against rival Spencer. The Indians will next be in action Thursday, Sept. 13 at home against North Union (3-12, 1-2), and Tuesday, Sept. 18 in the conference home-opener against fifth-ranked (2A) Western Christian (11-2).
"We are really excited for this conference season to get going and to continue to improve," Dielschneider said.
Pioneers win three at Spirit Lake
Okoboji went 3-3 at Spirit Lake on Saturday.
The Pioneers defeated Sibley-Ocheyedan twice and North Iowa once. The fell to ELC, Sheldon and West Bend-Mallard.
"I thought, overall, the girls played well and we got some wins," Okoboji coach Ashley Linquist said. "Playing six matches can really take a toll on your game, but we came through successful in the end. I was pleased with our serving game throughout the day and the determination they showed when coming from behind to beat Sibley the second time. After reviewing some game film, we definitely know we need to improve on our blocking and being able to put the ball down right away."
The Pioneers defeated Sibley-Ocheydan 21-7 and 21-14 in the first matchup.
Juniors Camry Jones and Alexis Neilsen led with four kills each.
Senior Alli Harms had nine assists and four aces.
Senior Madeline Stover had six digs and an ace.
Seniors Kendal Green, Morgan Jensen and Mackenzie Vos each had an ace.
The Pioneers fell behind with a 21-16 loss in the opening set in their second match with the Generals, but rebounded to win 23-21 in set two and 15-10 in the third and final set.
Jensen led with seven kills, five digs, one block and two aces.
Senior Taylor Titterington had five kills, six digs and three aces.
Jones and Neilsen both had four kills.
Harms dished out 19 assists. Green had five digs and an ace.
Okoboji defeated North Iowa 21-18 and 21-19.
Vos led with seven kills, seven digs and two aces.
Jones had five kills and two blocks.
Harms had 10 assists and an ace. Jensen had seven digs and an ace. Titterington had an ace.
Okoboji fell 21-19 and 21-15 to ELC.
Jensen had five kills, a block and an ace.
Stover had 10 digs and was 11-11 serving with an ace.
Harms dished out 11 assists.
Jones and Neilsen both had a block.
Okoboji fell 21-15 and 21-10 to Sheldon.
Neilsen and Jensen both had two kills.
Green had five digs and an ace.
Jensen and Jones both had a block.
The Pioneers fell 21-12 and 22-20 to West Bend-Mallard.
Jensen had five kills.
Neilsen and Titterington both had three kills. Neilsen had a block. Titterington had an ace.
Harms had 11 assists, five digs and was 8-8 serving with an ace.
The Pioneers' (3-9, 0-1) next action will be Thursday, Sept. 13 at home against Boyden-Hull (8-7, 0-1).