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Freshmen shine in West’s 3-1 win over Prairie

Gabi Delsing, a freshman, reacts as senior Toni Martins makes a dig in varsity action Tuesday night at Cedar Rapids Prairie. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

CEDAR RAPIDS– The curtain came down on the regular season for the West High Women of Troy varsity volleyball squad with a 3-1 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie in the birds’ gym Tuesday, Oct. 22.
A tooth-and-nail 25-22 first set win by West turned into a reversal of fortunes and a 22-25 loss in the second set. The Women of Troy dominated the third set 25-15 and put the birds away in the fourth 25-14. After the match, the unflappable coach Kathy Bresnahan was a bit surprised at how things turned out.
“I don’t know if we knew what to expect. This was just a whole day of flux.” She explained there was uncertainty if Toni Martins would be able to play or not. Martins did, putting up one assist, three digs and going a perfect 16-16 in serves with a pair of aces.
“We found out our back-up setter is out for the season and Laynie (Whitehead) is out for a week,” the coach said. “It took a little bit more for us to get into not having Laynie out there and not having her in right back, and having to ask a freshman to play right back.”
Freshmen Gabi Delsing, Emily Halverson and Ali Tauchen stepped up and played alongside the juniors and seniors, with Delsing serving 18-20 with a pair of aces, Halverson putting up four kills and seven block assists, and Tauchen making seven kills, one assist, nine block assists, one solo assist and making 13 serves with a team-high four aces.
Mikaela Morgan, a junior, led the offense with nine kills, made six digs and went 6-6 in serves with an ace. Senior Mollie Mason made eight kills, had 14 digs and was 8-8 in serves while junior Madi Miller had 14 digs and went 9-10 with an ace serve. Lizzy Klemme, a senior, made a pair of kills and put up 30 assists. Additionally, Klemme had five digs and a lucky 13-13 in serves with an ace. Senior Hannah Fairfield made six kills, had two block assists and went 7-7 serving.
“I thought at times we looked okay,” Bresnahan said, and added with a smile and a laugh, “If we ever get a full team, I’m not going to know what to do. We get Madi (Miller) back and we lose two more.” Sickness and injuries have plagued the squad this season, challenging the team to make adjustments, and forcing younger players to step up their game. “It’s just been the damndest year with that. Just really weird.” The coach shook her head and said, “it’s just one thing after another, but… that’s okay.”
Next up for West is regional play in the postseason with the U.S. Cellular Center and the state volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids on their minds. Bresnahan’s bunch will start with a second-round match at home on Thursday, Oct. 31, and will face either Cedar Rapids Jefferson or Linn-Mar, with the J-Hawks and Lions squaring-off Monday, Oct. 28.
A Halloween win would send West to Davenport Central on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to face either the Cedar Rapids Washington Warriors or Pleasant Valley for the Class 5A region 7 championship and a berth in the state tourney.
Regardless of what her line-up will be Thursday, the coach projected an air of confidence. “We keep finding a way to do it,” she said. West takes a 26-9-0 record into the second season.