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MHS netters win twice in consolation

Erica Johnson

JOHNSTON — The Marshalltown volleyball team made up in the consolation bracket for what it missed out on in pool play, going 2-2 at the highly competitive Johnston Tournament on Saturday.

The Bobcats (16-14) fell twice in pool play to a pair of ranked Class 5A teams before winning both of its matches in its consolation bracket.

Marshalltown opened the day against 5A No. 3 West Des Moines Valley, falling in straight sets, 21-8, 21-15. The Bobcats gave No. 11 Bettendorf a pair of close games, losing 22-20, 21-19.

“We had a very tough pool this morning but I thought we let one slip away against Bettendorf,” said MHS head coach Chris Brees. “We were up both games but made critical errors in both sets late.”

The Bobcats bounced back to defeat Ames, 21-18, 21-16, in the opening round of bracketed play, and then finished the day with a thrilling three-set victory over 3A No. 5 Dike-New Hartford, 21-13, 19-21, 16-14.

“I felt our service and defensive game was very strong today, but our serve-receive struggled to find consistency most of the day,” said Brees. “Except for the Dike-New Hartford game, our offense became too predictable because of passing.

Marshalltown was led by senior outside hitter Erica Johnson, who finished with a team-high 30 kills to go with 29 digs, one block and 25-of-27 serving. Autumn Finch added 19 kills and a team-best four blocks, while Hayden Oetker returned to action and tallied 10 kills and one block in three matches.

Tasia Pohle pitched in with six kills and three blocks, and Gabby Himes had five kills.

Senior setter Madi Finch racked up 64 assists to go with 20 digs, two blocks and a big game serving against Dike-New Hartford. Madi was 10-for-10 with three service aces against the Wolverines.

Defensively, Grace Fisher finished with a Bobcat-best 34 digs to go with 18-for-19 serving and two aces. Brittany Sichra tallied 27 digs and was 26-for-27 serving, Kyra Feldman added 19 digs and Mayah Carson contributed 10 digs. Feldman led MHS with 35-for-37 serving and four aces.

Now the Bobcats take 10 days off before hosting their 5A Region 6 semifinal on Oct. 29. The winner of the first-round game between Cedar Rapids Prairie and Cedar Rapids Jefferson will visit the Roundhouse for a 7 p.m. match.

“I feel very confident going into our semifinal match on the 29th,” said Brees. “We just need to work on serve-receive a lot the next week.”