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Women of Troy a step closer to the big dance

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– The West High Women of Troy swept the Rough Riders of Des Moines Roosevelt 3-0 Thursday night (Oct. 27) in a Class 4A regional semifinal match on their home court.
West took the night 26-24, 25-17 and 25-15.
In game one, Coach Kathy Bresnahan’s crew fought tooth and nail with the Rough Riders, trading points throughout. West’s greatest lead was by four points, 10-6, which prompted a Roosevelt time-out. The Rough Riders came out of the break and put three consecutive points on the board including an ace serve. A pair of Shelly Stumpff kills made it 12-10 West. Down 20-21, Bresnahan called for a time-out, after which Hannah Infelt put up a kill to tie at 21. Olivia Fairfield kept the team alive with a kill to tie at 23. Kelley Fliehler, Mollie Mason and Laynie Whitehead also had kills in the game.
“I was pleased with that first game,” Bresnahan said, despite the close nature. “It was nice to get that first win.”
“The first game, I think it got the jitters out of us,” Mason said.
In game two, the Rough Riders charged ahead with three kills and an ace serve on their way to a 5-0 lead. Stumpff retaliated with three consecutive kills before West tied at six. A pair of Fairfield kills kept West within a point of their guests at 8-9 while a Whitehead kill gave the ladies in green a brief 1-point lead. West took the lead for good on a Roosevelt error while Fairfield, Fliehler, Mason and Whitehead added kills to build on it.
Between the second and third games, Bresnahan and her crew talked about some of the crazy Halloween costumes in the student section, including a penguin, a rooster, a gorilla and a boy “riding” an ostrich.
“Have fun out there,” she urged them, while sharing a few laughs.
The third game didn’t start out to be much fun, as it was another point-by-point battle which saw a pair of Fairfield kills leading to a four-all tie. Down 7-4, West took another time-out before putting up two points to close the gap. The game was tied 11-all when Mason put up back-to-back kills. A 16-11 score in West’s favor led the Riders to take a pause. Fairfield followed the break with another kill as the Women of Troy cruised to the finish, thanks to another back-to-back pair of kills from Mason.
“We put it all into that third game,” Mason said.
“Mollie Mason came of age, it was her debutante party,” the coach said of the sophomore who put up nine kills, made 10 digs and had three ace serves despite suffering from a cold. Stumpff led in kills with 11, Fairfield also had nine. Anna Pashkova made 13 digs and “was passing lights OUT!” as the coach said. Kelley Fliehler had 32 assists on the night in her role as setter while Stumpff put up a pair of ace serves. Fairfield had a perfect 11-11 serves with an ace while Fliehler and Olivia Mekies were perfect with nine serves apiece including an ace for Mekies.
The win advanced the team to a Nov. 2 clash against the Warriors of Cedar Rapids Washington in Cedar Rapids for the regional final. A win sends West back to the State Tournament to defend its title.