CEDAR FALLS - The Marshalltown High School volleyball squad endured the lows and eventually climbed out of them and into the consolation bracket championship at Saturday's ultra-competitive Tiger Invitational.
The Bobcats (10-9) got bounced into the consolation bracket after a 1-2 showing from pool play. Class 2A No. 1-ranked Dike-New Hartford downed MHS (21-11, 21-14), as did Cedar Rapids Washington (21-11, 21-7), with the Bobcats' lone pool play win coming in the form of a three-set triumph over Waukee (20-22, 21-8, 15-12).
Marshalltown took the time in between pool and bracketed play to pick up the pieces and put them back together in the form of a winner. The 'Cats clobbered Des Moines East (25-15, 25-6), ousted Waterloo West (22-25, 25-18, 15-11) and finished off Cedar Rapids Prairie (25-17, 25-13) to claim the consolation bracket title.
"I'm happy that we turned it around," said MHS head coach Terri Westendorf. "You can celebrate anytime you get three wins in a row after a long day like that. I'm pleased we turned it around but we definitely had some bumps in the road.
"But we need to be in the championship bracket. We're better than the consolation bracket."
Eisha Oden led the Bobcats with 55 kills and shared the team lead with six blocks on the day. Morgan Bellile totaled 28 kills and three blocks, while Miranda Smith had 26 kills and three blocks. Lauren Mazour tallied 17 kills and six blocks and was the team's top server as well.
"I thought we got good leadership from Morgan and Lauren in that they were keeping the others positive, and Eisha really started hitting well in the afternoon," Westendorf said. "We started playing really good defense too and that helped us turn it around."
Madi Bellile totaled 110 assists over the five-match day and also went 32-for-35 serving with five aces. Mazour was 64-for-69 with eight aces, and Morgan Bellile was 39-for-44 with four aces. Smith finished 34-for-37 with four aces, Megan Major was 35-for-39, and Leiah Paustian was perfect on the day in going 29-for-29 with two aces.
Morgan Bellile led the MHS defense with 26 digs, Paustian had 23, Major 18 and Quinn Goodman 14.
"I feel the girls would agree with me when I say that the energy we brought in the afternoon, especially against Cedar Rapids Prairie, that's what we were missing against Dike-New Hartford and Cedar Rapids Washington," Westendorf said. "Our energy against Prairie was fantastic."
Marshalltown has a pair of trips to Urbandale slated for this week, starting with Tuesday's non-conference match. The Urbandale Tournament is on Saturday.