GARWIN Losing has been a foreign concept for the Royals of late and it remained that way after their third consecutive sweep Thursday.
Posting a 25-12, 25-19, 25-19 victory over GMG, Colo-NESCO picked up its sixth consecutive win improving to 11-7 overall and 6-1 in the Iowa Star Conference.
Pushing nearly three weeks since the Royals last experienced a defeat, Colo-NESCO coach Erin Murphy credited the team's current streak to the players gaining trust and familiarity with one another after making a couple changes in the line-up.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Colo-NESCO’s Caitlyn Riese, left, slams the ball over the net while GMG’s Mikaella Koster (13) and Olivia Barritt (9) try for the block. Riese posted seven kills and seven blocks for the Royals as they swept the Wolverines in three games Thursday night.
"We're starting to play as a team and getting used to being next to one another. We made a couple switches. We have Madison Farren hitting outside instead of setting and we brought our JV setter up. I think that has really helped us get some more attacks," said Murphy.
Caitlyn Reese dominated at the net all night and finished with seven kills and seven blocks while McKenna Farren added 10 assists and four kills. Madison Eley served up four aces.
Boosted by a strong service game from Eley, the Royals jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the opening game. Eley served eight straight points for Colo-NESCO and the Royals were never threatened after building the early cushion. The Wolverines pulled within 14-7, but couldn't maintain the run as Colo-NESCO stretched its lead to 21-9 before closing it out.
GMG turned the tide in the second game as a block from Olivia Barritt gave the Wolverines a 12-5 advantage. The Royals responded with a 10-3 surge to knot the score, before GMG took the next two points for a 17-15 edge.
Punctuated by a pair of aces from Eley, Colo-NESCO won the next five points and held off the Wolverines for a 2-0 lead.
Facing the seven-point deficit early on, Murphy was confident that it was only a matter of time before her squad start firing on all cylinders.
"We just needed to get it together and pass the ball. They know they can do it, we just tend to have those let downs. We figured it out," said Murphy.
Colo-NESCO carried the momentum into Game 3 taking a 6-1 lead out of the gates though the Wolverines rattled off five straight points to tie it.
Madison Farren was instrumental in the Royals' ensuing 9-3 run, recording a kill and an ace to put Colo-NESCO on top 15-9. GMG pulled within three at 19-16 before the Royals wrapped things up with a 6-3 flurry.
"(Colo-NESCO) hit at us really hard. We moved our feet and got after the ball, but they just did a super job of hitting on the line. Our girls hit it well, but they just out shot us tonight," said GMG coach Darlene Koster.
Mikaella Koster led the Wolverines with seven assists, four digs, three aces and a pair of kills.
Abigail Duden came up with eight digs and one kill, while Mackenze Burt added five assists and a dig. Olivia Barritt tallied six kills, three digs and a block and Caitlin Applegate had three kills. Sara Hinson recorded three digs, two kills and an ace, while Peyton Mannan added a dig.
The Royals face Madrid on the road Saturday, while the Wolverines have the weekend off before heading to Waterloo Christian on Tuesday.