Mabel-Canton netters played nine matches last week without dropping a set.
The action began in Mabel on Tuesday, Aug. 26. That's when Lyle/Pacelli visited the Cougars, falling 25-10, 25-11, 25-14. Sara Vettleson-Trutza and Courtney Graves had nine kills apiece, while Lexi Thorson excelled on the defensive end with nine digs. Coranda Vickerman provided 30 set assists.
"Our girls came out pretty focused because we knew we were playing the defending SEC West Champions who had the majority of their team returning,” M-C coach Lonnie Morken said. “We knew we would have to always know where Sarah Holtz was for them. She is a very athletic, dynamic attacker and we did not want her to get into a rhythm early. I thought we did a very good job against her limiting her to nine kills. Our offense was as balanced as ever with five girls registering four or more kills. We also served a little more aggressive which I was happy to see. We had seven errors, but did finish with 13 ace serves.
Two days later, M-C visited Glenville-Emmons, winning 25-9, 25-8, 25-5. Savanna Slafter and Dakota Delaney put away nine kills each, while Courtney Graves added eight and Vettleson-Trutza seven. Thorson dug another nine balls, while Vickerman had 30 more assists.
Morken said the long trip to Glenville presents a challenge, since playing focused volleyball after all that time on the bus can be tough. “Overall, I thought we did a good job,” he said. “Our offense was really clicking with 41 kills in only three sets. We had some very good passing and some great setting by Coranda. I thought Dakota Delaney had her best game of the year. We will continue to look at her improvement as the year goes on. Again, serving was a major strength of ours as we scored on 19 ace serves with only six misses.”
The Cougars hosted their seventh annual Labor Day Classic Volleyball Tourney on Saturday, inviting teams from Brainerd, Cotter, Grand Meadow, Spring Grove, Rushford-Peterson and Waukon.
In pool play, M-C defeated Grand Meadow, 25-8, 25-16; Cotter, 25-11, 25-19; Rushford-Peterson, 25-17, 25-15; Waukon, 25-9, 25-17; Brainerd, 25-19, 25-18; and Spring Grove, 25-11, 25-8.
The championship match featured the undefeated Cougars and the (4-2 in pool play) Rushford-Peterson Trojans. M-C won that contest, 25-21, 25-8.
Slafter and Vettleson-Trutza each scored nine kills in the two-set finale. Graves scored five kills, while Delaney, Hannah Nolte and Vickerman put away two each. Vickerman also put up 23 assists and added four digs to team totals. Service aces were provided by Thorson (3), Vickerman (2), Danielle Graves (1) and Courtney Graves (1). Courtney Graves and Delaney each had an ace block. Thorson tallied six digs, but the whole team played defense. Emma Wathier and Vickerman had four digs each, Slafter and Vettleson-Trutza dug out three apiece, Ashley Dahl and Maddy Aasum had two, and Danielle Graves one.
“It's a lot of work to host a tournament, but it's a lot of fun,” Morken said. “Once again, there was some very good competition. We got pushed more in our two R-P matches and our Brainerd match than we had all season. I was very pleased to see how our team responded to the adversity. We were down 16-8 in the first set in pool play against R-P and we responded, scoring 17 of the next 18 points. Up to that point of our season, we hadn't really flowed to the ball and played hard defensively. It was great to see us not back down from the challenge and really step up! I thought Savannah Slafter was really good all day — 44 kills and only five errors. We also had great serving days from Lexi Thorson (74/76 with 12 aces) and Courtney Graves (14 aces). Really, our team served great also — 56 aces and only 23 misses. As a team we hit over .340, which is very encouraging.”
Morken also thanked many of the community members and fellow coaching staff for their help during the tournament.
“I would like to thank a number of people that helped out at the tournament — my wife Stephanie, my assistant coaches, Bethany Moen and Susie Munroe; our line judge, Pastor Mary Waudby; our scoreboard operator, Danielle Paul; and the junior high parents and players that helped with concessions,” he concluded.