SOLON– The Lady Spartans have made the most out of their three homes matches, but the next two are biggies.
Solon’s varsity volleyball squad returned home for a 3-0 sweep of Central DeWitt last week after taking northern road trips to face Western Dubuque and Dyersville Beckman. Beckman stretched the Lady Spartans out to five games, while Solon made short work of Western Dubuque.
Coming up, however, are home matches (Oct. 2 and Oct. 4) against two highly ranked teams in West Delaware (4A, No. 6) and Mount Vernon (3A, No. 7).
The Lady Spartans are currently ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, sitting with a record of 16-3 on top of the WaMaC East (4-0).
Head coach Peter Gustin thinks it all might be coming together at the right time. At least it looked that way against Central DeWitt.
“This was definitely the most complete match we’ve played all year and a great serving performance (by Kelsey Hinrichs),” Gustin said. “We did the little things that take care of themselves through court discipline, and to think we can still clean up errors from this match makes us even hungrier for success.”
The Lady Spartans took the match in three games, 25-10, 25-15, 25-19. In the first game, Solon had a 20-8 lead before Hinrichs finished the game at the service line.
The second game started out tighter, with the Lady Spartans nudging out to a four-point lead and then breaking it open late on kills by Kelsey Cave.
Against Western Dubuque (25-14, 25-17, 25-17), Gustin said, the score was deceiving.
“This was one of those matches where the scores would read as if we really went in there and took care of business; however, we were just handing them points all night,” Gustin said. “We swung pretty well at the net, but our blockers were often out of position spreading our defense out, and it caused a lack of communication on the floor. We started the third set down 8-1 before taking off on a 24-9 run, which is how we should have played right off the first whistle.” Taylor Nearad did a phenomenal job of reading Western Dubuque’s hitters, he added, covering the floor in the back row incredibly well.
But it was Dyersville Beckman that pushed the Lady Spartans.
After taking the first two games easily (25-14, 25-14), Solon lost the next two by tight scores (21-25, 23-25).
“We came out strong and they really couldn’t get anything going against us,” the coach said. “After two sets of fairly error-free volleyball, we followed with 14 hitting errors in the next two sets.”
Luckily, Rylee Smith had 22 crucial digs on the night, allowing the Lady Spartans to run their offense even when playing from behind.
“In the fifth, Kelsey Hinrichs stepped up for us at the net and we were able to recover from our recent error-plagued performance,” he noted. Solon won the final game 15-8.
“We’re really working hard to build around all aspects of our play that have been lacking so we can begin peaking toward the conference and state tournaments,” Gustin commented. “We’ve got high aspirations and we’ll be pushing as hard as we can every day from here on out to qualify for state again.”