Bobcats hammer Huskies in opener

Marshalltown volleyball team starts season by dropping Des Moines Hoover

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown freshman Autumn Finch (9) splits Des Moines Hoover defenders Destiny Lottie, left, and Mary Mo, right, during the Bobcats’ sweep of the Huskies to open the season. Finch led the team with seven kills in the win.

Bobcat fans got their first glimpse of the new-look Marshalltown volleyball team on Tuesday when it hosted Des Moines Hoover for the season opener, and the large crowd in attendance was not disappointed by the fresh faces on the court.

The Bobcats got going early and often against the Huskies as they never trailed on the way to a straight-set victory, 25-8, 25-4, 25-8.

Marshalltown senior Alyvia Chadderdon, the one of two senior starters on the floor on Tuesday, said she wasn’t sure what to expect early on with two freshmen starting, but she was very happy with the result.

“I was a little nervous that some of the freshmen and the younger players were going to be too nervous and make errors a lot, but I thought it went really well,” said the Bobcats’ senior libero. “We had a lot of time before the match to bond as a team, we were trying to get them to feel relaxed and I think we did really well. It was a good confidence boost to start the season, especially for the freshmen.”

Not only were the freshmen involved in the MHS plan, one of them led the way offensively. Freshman Autumn Finch made her presence known with a kill in the middle early on in the first set, and she would eventually lead the Bobcats (1-0) with seven kills.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - The Marshalltown volleyball team gathers to celebrate a point early in the first set of its sweep of Des Moines Hoover in the Bobcats’ season opener on Tuesday in the Roundhouse.

Fellow freshman Hayden Oetker followed Finch with an early kill of her own, finishing the night with five total kills, good enough for third on the team behind junior Erica Johnson’s six.

“What I think helped right away was both of our freshmen that started in the front row got a kill and a kill back-to-back,” MHS head coach Chris Brees said after the win. “That was my concern was building their confidence, we are mature in our defense and our setting position and our other outside, it’s just getting those young players confidence and I think since they got those kills early, we all settled in.”

The Bobcats never got out of rhythm in the win over Hoover (0-2), even recording 24 total aces in the victory. Junior Madi Finch had nine aces to lead the way, as well as 21 assists as the setter, while Chadderdon and Kyra Feldman had five apiece.

The Huskies didn’t push the Marshalltown defense too much, but when asked to defend the Bobcats stepped up well. Johnson led in digs with five, but Brees said Chadderdon filled in her role as libero nicely with leading the defense.

“Alyvia has stepped into the role of being the libero and that maturing process has come along quickly,” he said. “When we get into some tougher matches we will be looking for that, that ease, that calmness that’s on the court.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Chadderdon said she actually wanted to be challenged a little more on some hard-to-reach balls, because she thrives off the pressure situation.

“My freeballs, that’s the easy stuff. I always want the hard things, I want to make some diving plays, I am so excited to be libero because I love being on the floor and making a good play and everyone cheers really loud when I get it off the floor,” she said with a grin.

Though girls like Regan Mazour, Ciara Feldman and other leaders of the past weren’t on the floor on Tuesday night, Chadderdon said all of the leadership skills she’s learned in her time at MHS have come from them, and they’ve prepared her to take over the reins.

“My entire high school career I have always been right behind them in every single sport, so I have kind of just observed a lot and noticed what they do,” she said. “I just really wanted to step up, get some playing time, make some good plays and make the freshmen and everyone else feel comfortable because that’s what the other upperclassmen would do for me.”

The crowd truly did make its presence known throughout the match, even causing some issues with the communication on the front line between some of the younger players. Brees said that’s something the girls can’t work on in practice, but he was grateful to have such a raucous bunch of Bobcats out cheering on the team.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“We called a blue out and I had no idea this many people would come,” Chadderdon added. “They were super supportive and I loved the energy and I think it really kept us excited in the game. Even if it wasn’t as exciting at times, it got a little boring, but they really stayed with it and I appreciated it.”

Up next Marshalltown will host Class 3A No. 5 Waterloo Columbus, Class 4A No. 8 Waverly-Shell Rock and Solon for a quadrangular on Thursday. Brees said it will be a good early test for his young team.

“You have two ranked teams, you have a state champion coming in, it’s going to be tough,” he said. “There’s not a sleeper opponent in that whole quad, we are going to have to step up our game. We will work on some things hard tomorrow night and work off some bigger hitters coming at us.

“It’s just taking one game at a time, one serve at a time, one point at a time, focusing on maturing. Like I said earlier, it’s about October, it’s not about late August or early September.”

The quadrangular on Thursday night is set for a 5 p.m. start at the Roundhouse.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON