All four volleyball games against West Des Moines Valley were competitive and close Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they managed to claim just one of those narrow victories in a four-game loss to the Tigers at the Roundhouse.
The Bobcats had leads in three of the four games but came out on the short end of a West Des Moines Valley win as the Tigers won 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22.
"We have the power to put a ton of points on the board, but we just did not take advantage of our opportunities tonight," MHS coach Terri Westendorf said. "We have to find a way to be more consistent on every point."
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown senior Lauren Mazour taps over an attack attempt against Valley on Tuesday night in the Roundhouse. The Bobcats lost to the Tigers in four games.
The Bobcats led for much of the first game but could not close it out. It was a see-saw battle early in the frame until Marshalltown separated itself briefly at 20-17 following a kill by Eisha Oden.
However, that kill would be the last point the Bobcats would claim as the Tigers rolled off eight straight points to take the opening game. It was a momentum shift that proved costly in the end for Marshalltown.
"None of the things we need to fix are unfixable," Westendorf said. "We have to capitalize on every single point. We let a lot of points slip away tonight."
The Bobcats trailed 5-3 in the second game before senior Morgan Bellile rolled off three straight kills to put Marshalltown in front. Valley tied the game at 6, but Marshalltown managed to reel off seven consecutive points, led by three kills from senior Lauren Mazour.
"We have some great power," Westendorf said. "We had some great serve receive tonight, too. We just have to play a little bit more consistent. We need consistency on every ball."
The Tigers wouldn't go away easy though, cutting the Bobcat advantage to just two later in the game. Senior Miranda Smith came through with a kill and then two straight put aways by freshman Leiah Paustian made it 20-15. The Bobcats maintained an advantage until Valley tied it at 23 late. However, a Mazour kill and a double block by Mazour and Oden sealed the victory and the tie for Marshalltown (0-1).
Game 3 was just like the first two games in that it was close throughout. There were 12 ties total in the set and neither team led by more than four.
Valley led by four at 13-9 early, but after a Westendorf timeout, the Bobcats tied it with four straight points thanks in large part to two kills from Smith and stellar serving by senior Megan Major.
Smith and Mazour maintained strong play the rest of the game, forcing several more ties. Valley wound up winning the set though by scoring the final two points of the frame.
"We didn't always decide to attack the serve receive and attack their hitters," Westendorf said. "We need to stay on the attack. That is what we need to improve on."
The Tigers were in control of the fourth game throughout. They led 8-4 early before Marshalltown rallied behind two kills from Oden to tie it at 10. Valley then rolled off six straight points to gain an advantage, but again Marshalltown narrowed the gap coming out of another timeout. The rally was led by two aces from Madi Bellile as well as an Oden kill and a Paustian block.
"Our serving was very good," Westendorf said. "We kept them out of their offense a lot of times."
Marshalltown kept it close the rest of the way but Valley won the big points when it needed to and closed out the Bobcats in four games. Marshalltown tied it at 22 late but the Tigers scored the final three points of the game to win the match.
Madi Bellile led the Bobcats with 28 assists, 15 digs and three aces. She also was 17-for-17 in serves. Morgan Bellile was 18-of-19 in serves and added a team-high 17 digs. Oden and Mazour each had 10 kills, while Smith contributed nine in the loss. Senior Emily DeVenney and Paustian finished with 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
The Bobcats have a few days off before playing in the Pat Apgar Volleyball Invitational on Saturday inside the Roundhouse. Marshalltown will play in the Blue Pool with South Hardin, Iowa Falls and Waverly-Shell Rock. Indianola, Charles City, Ottumwa and Iowa City West will play in the Red Pool. The Bobcats will begin pool play with South Hardin at 9 a.m. before taking on Waverly-Shell Rock at 11:15. The final pool play match against Iowa Falls will start at 12:45 p.m. ... In other action Tuesday, the Marshalltown freshman A team won 25-17, 25-22 over Valley, while the Valley freshman B team won 19-25, 25-23, 15-8. The Tiger sophomores won 28-26, 26-24, while the Valley JV won 26-24, 25-27, 18-15.