Lady Mustangs end season

Kayla Joos hits a kill past an Albia blocker in last week's Class 3A Regional tournament match. Joos finished the match with eight kills and was 10-11 serving with three ace serves. 

The Lady Mustang volleyball season came to an end Oct. 29 in a 3-1 loss to Albia in the semifinal round of the Class 3A Regional Tournament. Albia won by set scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-15. Davis County did win the second set 25-23.

Unfortunately, the match didn’t go the way Davis County’s players, coaches and fans wanted it to end. Coach Brooke Mason said things weren’t going well for the team, but did say it wasn't because of any lack of desire or effort on the part of the girls on the court.

“We just weren’t working together very well through most of the match, so communication was off, which affects everything,” said Coach Brooke Mason. “It was a tough way to end our season.”

Davis County jumped out to a quick lead in the opening set with kills from Kaden Porter and Jessica Early, but it became evident quickly that the girls just weren’t quite in sync on the court. Passing was off, setting seemed to be a struggle, and the girls just didn’t have the power and dominance at the net that they had shown in previous matches.

Unfortunately, this match against a good Albia team was not the time for Davis County to suffer from anything less than a strong performance.

The Blue Demons took advantage of Davis County’s problems and used that to their benefit. Albia not only scored on Davis County miscues, but built an early lead with some kills and some strong net play after being able to get their offense going early.

Davis County did manage to score some offensive points on kills from Morgan Petefish. Porter used a tip to stop a short Albia Rally and Brett Lough added a point on an ace serve. Despite the problems, Davis County only trailed six points midway through the first set.

Another strong run by Albia came later in the set when Davis County struggled to get its hitters and offense fully in sync. Albia embarked on a 7-3 scoring run on its way to the 25-17 win in the opening set.

As the second set began, Albia continued to take advantage of Davis County issues. The Lady Mustangs took a 2-1 lead on an ace serve from Porter, but Albia stymied the Davis County defense on a seven-point scoring run. Before long, Albia had a 15-6 lead and looked as though they were going to dominate the second set as well.

Freshman hitter Kayla Joos helped Davis County get back on track. Two straight ace serves stopped the Albia scoring rally. Joos made some nice blocks at the net to keep Albia’s offense from scoring. Davis County battled back to tie the score at 20-20 after trailing Albia by nine points.

Albia used a timeout to get back on track, but Davis County

never gave up. The girls used kills from Early and Petefish to keep battling. Two Albia miscues at the net helped Davis County take a 24-23 lead. The Lady Mustangs won the second set on an ace serve from Early.

That victory was the peak of Davis County’s performance for the night. The Lady Mustangs couldn’t get that team chemistry back in the third and fourth sets.

Davis County did put up a battle against the Blue Demons in the early stages of the third set. Kills from Early, Joos and Bryce Dixon helped keep the score close. The two teams each put together scoring runs trying to establish control at the net. Albia managed to get its offense in sync and began a crippling scoring run that put Davis County behind 20-13. Even though Davis County scored on an ace serve from Early and had kills from Joos, Albia still maintained control of the momentum. The Blue Demons won the third set 25-16.

Davis County never did get things going in the fourth and final set. The girls didn’t even score an offensive point until Joos found an opening with a tip to cut Albia’s lead to 10-4. Briley Lough and Porter each added a kill to score points, but Davis County’s struggles just didn’t go away. Hitting errors helped Albia build a 20-10 lead and the Blue Demons cruised to the easy 25-15 win in the final set.

“Our passing struggled, which leads to sets that are too far off of the net and then to hitting errors,” said Mason of her team’s struggles. “None of our players were able to make the adjustments necessary to make it work.

“We did have an inspiring momentum shift in the second set led by Kaden Porter’s serving and some big blocks by Kayla Joos and Bryce Dixon. Kara Greiner had two monster digs in this set to keep us going, too,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say anyone necessarily gave up. I would say that we just didn’t have the chemistry we needed to begin with. That’s a big hurdle to overcome. The end of a season, whenever it happens, is always disappointing, but we always want to go out fighting,” said Mason. “We want to end it feeling proud of our effort. I hope, when the initial disappointment of losing this match is gone, that my team is proud of our entire season.”

Davis County finished the season with a 19-17 overall record. They finished fourth in the South Central Conference standings with a record of 3-3.

Serving—Jessica Early, 15-16, 1 ace; Kaden Porter, 13-16, 1 ace; Kayla Joos, 10-11, 3 aces; Brett Lough, 11-12, 1 ace; Phoebe Moore, 9-10 and Kara Greiner, 7-7.

Hitting—Porter, 11-11, 9 kills; Joos, 23-31, 8 kills; Early, 18-28, 6 kills; Morgan Petefish, 15-21, 4 kills; Briley Lough, 3-3, 3 kills; Bryce Dixon, 7-15, 1 kill; Brett Lough, 3-3; Kara Greiner, 4-4; Hannah Schooley, 2-3, 1 kill and Moore, 0-1.

Assists—Brett Lough, 25; Schooley, 2; Moore, 1; Dixon, 1; Joos, 1 and Early, 1.

Digs—Greiner, 19; Schooley, 17; Early, 7; Brett Lough, 6; Moore, 3; Briley Lough, 3 and Porter, 2.

Blocks—Joos, 3; Dixon, 2; Early, 1; Porter, 1