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No conference title for Lady Spartans

Solon pushes past Mount Vernon, but West Delaware delivers first WaMaC loss
Jordan Runge and Maegan Bruene go up for a block on Mount Vernon’s Kaitlyn Volesky last Tuesday.

MOUNT VERNON– It was a rollercoaster ride for the Lady Spartans last week.
Solon dropped its first conference match of the year against West Delaware at Manchester Thursday, and that left the Lady Spartans in second place for the WaMaC East.
The Lady Spartans had two tough road games, and only came out on top in one.
The win came at Mount Vernon Tuesday night, a 3-1 conference win.
“Jordan Runge and Kendra Cave each had their best match against Mount Vernon,” said head coach Peter Gustin. “The girls swung aggressive, smart and without error. The cherry on top of that match was Rylee Smith’s phenomenal play in the back row, earning her 1,000th career dig.”
The Lady Spartans gave up game two to the Mustangs, prevailing 25-19, 22-25, 25-14, 25-14.
Rylee Smith had 18 digs against Mount Vernon, but shared the load with Grace McCarty (12) and Taylor Nearad (11).
Runge led the offense with 19 kills on 31 attacks, while Cave and Jordan Smith added 13 and 12 kills respectively.
Nearad had 40 assists and was 20-21 with one ace from the service line. As a team, Solon was 86-94 with five service aces.
Two days makes a lot of difference.
“The West Delaware match temporarily deflated us, but only because we didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Gustin said. “We made costly error after costly error after costly error on some of the easiest balls to handle.”
Solon dropped the first two games, 19-25 and 20-25, before taking game three, 28-26. West Delaware took game four, 15-25.
“After winning the third set and grabbing some early momentum in the fourth, we made so many errors that I couldn’t even count anymore--but that’s okay,” Gustin said. “It’s okay for us to take another loss and to experience struggle. We have so much room to grow, and this team hasn’t peaked yet.”
Gustin was proud of how his team bounced back over the weekend at a Durant tournament.
The Lady Spartans dropped the first game to Durant, but stormed back to take all of the matches they played.
“To cap off the day, we beat a very tough team in Davenport Assumption that went point-for-point (21-19, 22-20). Our girls played from behind in both sets and found a way to pull it all together in the last moments of each set.”
Solon also defeated Davenport West (21-8, 21-4), Fort Madison (21-15, 21-8), Mid-Prairie (21-5, 21-15) and Grinnell (21-11, 21-13).
“Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve our first goal, which was to win the WaMaC East conference,” Gustin said. “We can’t change that fact, so we’ll focus on our next goal.”
The Lady Spartans were expected to face Marion, Benton Community and Central Clinton of DeWitt Tuesday during WaMaC tourney pool play at Manchester. The WaMaC tournament will conclude Thursday, Oct. 17, at Marion.
Solon will skip the first round of district play with a bye and host a regional semifinal Thursday, Oct. 31, in Solon.