SOLON– The No. 2-ranked Solon Lady Spartans defeated Clear Creek Amana (CCA) 3-0 to open the 2013 volleyball season last Thursday.
The Lady Spartans’ serves kept the Clippers off-balance and resulted in a convincing 25-14, 25-8, 25-10 victory.
Solon, which finished second in the Class 4A tournament last year, lost three key players– hitters Kelsey Cave and Kelsey Hinrichs and setter Emma Rickels– to graduation, but it didn’t take long to shake off the rust and reload.
“Graduation can be ruthless to many programs,” head coach Peter Gustin noted. “Fortunately, it wasn’t for us. We have players who were ready to assume those roles immediately, and because of that, we are a very well-balanced team again.”
Solon started off with a 9-0 run to start the first game, and used serving streaks throughout the match to keep the Clippers on their heels.
“CCA really couldn’t establish any sort of rhythm in their offense due to our serving,” Gustin said. “We are working to become one of the toughest serving teams in the state, and we showed that last night. If we serve that tough consistently, our offense is going to have the chance to put games out of reach early.”
The Lady Spartans delivered 10 aces against CCA, including three each from Jordan Runge and Jordan Smith. Solon was over 90 percent efficient on its service, led by Taylor Nearad with 21. Nearad also had 28 assists to lead the team.
“Taylor Nearad is doing an exceptional job of providing our hitters with opportunities, even when our passing is off,” Gustin said.
The two Jordans– Smith and Runge– led the team in kills with 13 and eight respectively. Rylee Smith had 17 digs and Vik Meade put up two blocks.
“The goal is to take the opposing team out of its system, and we were highly successful in that aspect [Thursday] night,” Gustin said. “Our coaches and players have been craving this since November, and I truly couldn’t be much happier with our girls’ focus, energy, and effort.”
The Lady Spartans were home to host Durant Tuesday, then take to the road for the Cedar Rapids Washington tournament this weekend, followed by road trips to Maquoketa and Williamsburg next week.