PREP VOLLEYBALL: Morrow, Duitsman power H-LP past Round Lake-BrewsterLAKE PARK, Iowa — Passing the ball well Thursday evening and riding the strong hitting of sophomore Noreen Morrow and senior Leah Duitsman — who each received numerous set assists from sophomore Macy Gunderson — Harris-Lake Park High School won its volleyball home-opener, claiming a 3-0 victory over across-the-border rival Round Lake-Brewster.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
LAKE PARK, Iowa — Passing the ball well Thursday evening and riding the strong hitting of sophomore Noreen Morrow and senior Leah Duitsman — who each received numerous set assists from sophomore Macy Gunderson — Harris-Lake Park High School won its volleyball home-opener, claiming a 3-0 victory over across-the-border rival Round Lake-Brewster.
It was the first win of the new season for the young Wolves (1-3), who have only one senior on their roster, after three consecutive losses on the road.
Game scores Thursday were 25-10, 25-16 and 25-21.
“We serve received very well tonight — by far our best of the season,” declared H-LP head coach Daryl Meyer. “We were passing quality balls to our setter and Macy did a nice job of directing traffic and getting the set to where our hitters wanted it.”
Sparked by some powerful hitting by the 6-1 Morrow, who finished the match with 14 kills, the Wolves were in control throughout Game 1 and posted a convincing win over the Raiders (1-1), who opened their season Tuesday night with a 3-1 victory over Mountain Lake Christian.
Morrow continued her torrid pace in Game 2 as she delivered four ace serves, including three in a row, helping H-LP open up an early 10-3 lead.
“Noreen has kind of a knuckleball serve,” exclaimed Meyer. “It moves around quite a bit and is hard to handle.”
A bit later, a nice bump-set-spike from the combination of Mariah Gath to Gunderson (23 set assists) to Miranda Brueggeman for a kill kept the momentum going for the Wolves. Brueggeman, a 5-4 sophomore who leaps well, had earlier made a great dig on a sizzling spike attempt by RL-B freshman Kailey Wendland, preventing what looked like a sure point for the visitors.
The Raiders, however, came back as sophomore outside hitter Sonja Peters (nine digs) came up with a sensational save and later scored an ace serve, trimming the deficit to 11-6.
After a block by Duitsman — H-LP’s lone senior — the Raiders had three straight miscues, which allowed the Wolves to claim a commanding 15-6 advantage.
RL-B countered with four straight points, winning a couple of long rallies, including one which was highlighted by another great dig by Peters, forcing Meyer to take a timeout with the lead at 15-10.
“The Raiders were feisty,” praised Meyer about RL-B’s young team. “They didn’t quit and just kept coming at us. They caught us off guard in the back row several times.”
Out of the timeout, the Wolves received a dandy “coffin corner” spike from Brueggeman to move their point total to 16. Back-to-back ace serves by Brueggeman lifted H-LP to an 18-10 lead, but a big middle kill by Wendland (two ace blocks, nine digs) — followed by consecutive Wolves’ errors — closed the gap to 18-13.
Gunderson cooled the Raider rally with a nifty set over the net for an H-LP point.
“She dropped in straight in there,” praised Meyer about Gunderson’s well-placed kill. “That was a heads-up play, which swung the momentum back our way.”
Morrow (15-of-17 serving, eight aces) followed up with a stuff at the net and then Duitsman uncorked three straight ace serves to propel the Wolves to a 23-13 advantage.
Duitsman finished the match with seven aces on a terrific 27-of-29 performance from the line.
Two nice hits by Gath (six kills), including the game-clincher — through a Raider block attempt — finished off Game 2 with a 25-16 win for the Wolves.
Raiders earn several leads in Game 3
The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in Game 3, as Wendland delivered an ace serve after an opening miscue by the Wolves.
A nice play by senior setter Zoe Baerenwald (eight set assists) gave RL-B a 4-3 edge and then when Baerenwald’s set to Peters was cracked through an H-LP block attempt, the Raiders were up by two, 5-3.
Gath delivered a dandy cross-court hit to score a point for the Wolves and the score stayed close for several exchanges before an ace block by Wendland put RL-B up, 9-8.
Duitsman was at the serving line when H-LP scored three straight points to take an 11-10 edge, but Sarah Baumgard (team-high four kills) smacked an ace hit for the Raiders, knotting the score.
Later, Baumgard came through twice in a row at the net (an ace block the second time), lifting RL-B to another two-point lead, 14-12.
The Wolves, however, countered with four straight points — including another ace serve by Morrow — to claim a 16-14 edge.
But, Baumgard’s back-to-back ace serves gave the lead back to the Raiders, 17-16.
After an exchange of miscue, RL-B held a 19-17 advantage before the Wolves closed out the contest with a match-ending 8-2 run.
The Raiders were still up, 20-19, when a well-placed spike — down the line — by Duitsman tied the score and was followed up an open shot to the floor by Morrow.
A net violation by the Wolves allowed the Raiders to tie the score at 21-all, but a pair of kills by Morrow (sets from Gunderson) highlighted the home team’s final four points.
“All-in-all, this was a nice match for us, winning our home-opener and, hopefully, bringing some momentum to this young squad,” summed up Meyer about the Wolves’ performance.
“We travel to Swea City Tuesday for a Cornbelt Conference clash with our rivals from the combination of North Kossuth, Swea City and Armstrong-Ringstead. Traditionally, over the past 15 years, it’s always been a great match.”
For the Raiders, who host Hills-Beaver Creek in a Red Rock Conference match Tuesday night, junior right-side hitter Halie Spessard was a perfect 12-for-12 from the service line and senior outside hitter Jenessa Ling had a team-high 10 digs.
“We played much better as the night progressed,” concluded RL-B head coach Kayla Johnson of the Raiders’ effort. “Early in the match, we were not moving our feet well enough to get some of the balls, which we should have been able to play. But, they (H-LP) have some strong hitters and servers.”