ELDORA - Kayla Prosser has many responsibilities as South Hardin's setter.
When she is not trying to set up teammates at the net, she is serving up aces, collecting digs and maybe most importantly, deciding when is the right time to break out her left-handed attack.
Prosser made all the right decisions for the Tigers on Tuesday as South Hardin ended rival BCLUW's season with a 25-17, 24-26, 25-10, 25-19 win in the Class 2A Region 5 opener.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
South Hardin senior Kayla Prosser capped off the Tigers’ playoff win over rival BCLUW with consecutive aces Tuesday in Eldora. South Hardin won the match in four games and will next face Class 2A No. 9 Grundy Center.
"One of our goals was to beat this team in three, but we also wanted to come out in that first game and light them up and show them that we were coming to win and not messing around," said Prosser, who finished with a team-high 13 kills, nine aces and 27 assists. "We set the tone early in that first game."
The Tigers (16-18) nearly pulled off the sweep as they led 24-22 in the game two loss before BCLUW rallied for the win. The other three games were won with relative ease by the home team.
"We did a nice job of focusing on our gameplan tonight," South Hardin coach Karla Bronzynski said. "We had an idea of where the openings were going to be based on the personnel they used in our previous meeting."
The Tigers stole a road win in the previous meeting. The Comets had a 14-12 lead in the fifth and deciding set but couldn't close it out.
BCLUW (15-15) had trouble passing the ball against South Hardin on Tuesday. That led to an inconsistent effort at the net.
"We didn't pass our best tonight and that is where everything starts," BCLUW coach Kristen Garber said. "We had moments where we passed really well. But as a whole, it wasn't a good night and everything builds from that. We just knew that we had to be aggressive at the net and without the passing that was tough to do."
The Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opener behind three straight points from junior Haley Lawrence. The Comets fought all the way back to a tie at 10-all, but five consecutive points later gave South Hardin a 17-12 advantage.
Two Prosser aces ignited another run that pushed the lead from 17-14 to 22-14 and the Tigers went on to win game one by that same margin.
"We did a lot of things to speed up the play so they couldn't get the blocks down," Bronzynski said. "The sets were quicker to the hitters. We were speeding everyone up. We fell into their tempo in the earlier meeting. We like to keep the tempo up though."
The second game was a true back-and-forth affair. There were 14 ties in the frame and the first 13 helped even the game at 21-all. The Tigers grabbed two separate two-point leads after that but couldn't close it out.
Kendall Scurr and Nicole Montgomery both had a kill and Hannah Sams added a block that helped the Comets take a 25-24 lead and then an error by the Tigers evened the match at one game apiece. Scurr and Montgomery had 10 and seven kills, respectively, for BCLUW.
The momentum for the Comets was short-lived though.
The Tigers grabbed an advantage in game three and never looked back. Prosser was at her best in the final two games for the home team. Her tip put the Tigers up 8-3 and then another kill extended the lead to 12-5 later. She finished off the frame with a kill and back-to-back aces before Swartz blasted a kill for the win.
Game four was very similar to the second set until the Tigers pulled away late.
Sarah Boomgarden made it 17-15 with her kill. Prosser then scored three of the next four points to extend the lead to 22-16. The first one was pushed to the corner, the second one was blasted through the block and the final tally was tipped over the defense. Consecutive aces from Prosser pushed the Tigers into the next round.
"The more I hit the more my hitters were open because the blockers had to respect me," Prosser said. "I try to use my peripherals to see where the blockers are. If no one is on me, I will just hit it."
The win sends the Tigers to Tuesday's regional quarterfinal at No. 9 Grundy Center. The Spartans swept South Hardin in their previous meeting this season.
"We are going to do what we can do," Bronzysnki said. "We will work on the things we know we can improve on and the things we know we have to do well. That will be our focus. We will try to put things together as a team."
The loss ends the Comets' season. Four BCLUW seniors - Scurr, Nicolette Simpson, Emily Mossman and Raelynn Aicher - also played their final match for the school.
"We are going to miss those four seniors," Garber said. "They have been responsible for building this program into being much more competitive."
Olivia Callaway finished with nine kills, eight digs and was 15-for-15 in serving, while Bobbi Paper had 13 assists and was 16-for-16 from behind the service line. Simpson added 11 digs, five assists and was a perfect 11-for-11.
Swartz had 11 kills for the Tigers, while Lawrence finished with 10. Lake collected a team-high 24 digs, while Boomgarden had 12 digs, five kills and was 15-for-15 in serves. The Tigers finished with 15 aces and 19 blocks on the night. Lawrence had five blocks to lead the way.
Lake played through a nagging cough and Lexi Ryan and Dru Balvanz also missed practice time recently due to illnesses. "There is a lot of crud going around right now," Bronzynski said. "We are doing our best to stay away from it and stay healthy." ... Prosser said after the match that her list of collegiate volleyball options is down to three: Marshalltown Community College, Grand View University and Wartburg College. ... The loss ended BCLUW's six-match winning streak.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck 3, Aplington-Parkersburg 1
REINBECK - Brittney Keller rattled off 18 kills and Ellie Stoakes added 11 as the Rebels fought off the Falcons 25-14, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20 in Class 2A Region 6 first round action Tuesday.
Alyssa Christopher (17-for-17) and Hayley Weber (12-for-13) each served up three aces and had 18 digs as G-R (11-22) moves on to face top-ranked Dike-New Hartford in quarterfinal play on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The Wolverines (39-1) are the reigning state champs and received a bye in the first round.
The Rebels' Jenny Schildroth distributed 34 assists and was a perfect 23-for-23 on serve with a pair of aces. Stoakes had two solo blocks and Keller added 11 digs as Bailea Evenson and Hayley Weber notched six kills apiece.
Evenson (14-of-17) had two aces and Stoakes (8-for-10) and Keller (11-for-12) each had one as the Rebels finished 85-of-92 from behind the line with 12 service winners. No stats were available for Aplington-Parkersburg (9-19).
Jesup 3, North Tama 1
JESUP - Josie Youel recorded seven kills, 14 digs and served 11-of-12 in a losing effort as the Redhawks were bounced by the J-Hawks 25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 25-15 in Tuesday's Class 2A Region 6 first round match.
Sara Howard had eight kills, Anna Kvidera dished out 25 assists and Shayla Kopriva added 10 assists as North Tama (16-13) ended the season on a three-game slide.
No stats were available for Jesup (20-11), which travels to Hudson (22-11) to face the Pirates in a quarterfinal match on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
Howard served 19-of-21 with two aces while Kopriva (13-of-13, 1 ace), Kvidera (12-of-12) and Courtney Stuart (10-of-12, 1 ace) also excelled on serve for North Tama.
Kvidera and Stuart came up with nine and seven digs respectively, Rian Weda chipped in five kills and Molly Dvorak and Whitney Pokorny each had four.