Bobcats rounding into form
MHS volleyball shows signs of progress in own quadrangular
After the second match of the Pat Apgar Tournament in the Roundhouse Thursday night, the Bobcats were in a rut.
After losing 2-1 in the first match of the evening to Solon (15-11 in the final set), the Marshalltown volleyball team was shellacked by Class 4A No. 8 Waverly-Shell Rock, 21-12 and 21-6. The Go-Hawks are a perennial state contender and Marshalltown is still learning its way with new head coach Kaylee Peschong, but the Bobcats were visibly frustrated with themselves throughout the contest.
Errors and a difficult matchup left it looking as if it would be a winless evening for the Bobcats, but a convincing finish turned the tide around for Marshalltown and a 2-1 win over Waterloo Columbus Catholic (16-21, 21-9, 15-8) was enough to get the Bobcats a second-place result.
Peschong said the turnaround was just what the team needed to make up for a rough start.
“Those last two [sets] really changed the tone of tonight’s tournament,” Peschong said. “It was a positive thing to end on such a positive note. We saw a lot of new players kind of step out and show their strengths and I thought it was a really great thing to see as a coach.”
Early on, it looked like the Bobcats were going to have a victory in their opener. Winning the first set 21-18 and putting up a strong challenge in the second set, it was a back-and-forth third set where the Bobcats were first frustrated. Solon kept Marshalltown at bay to win the set and the match, 15-11.
Peschong was pretty proud of the team’s performance in the first game, but the second game is where she said the evening turned briefly sour.
“I think that as a team we need to work on cutting the runs of the other team, they went on quite a few runs,” Peschong said. “I know that there’s a lot of takeaways from the first two games, but if we can keep building with positive momentum that’s kind of our goal.”
Peschong was vocal with the team on the court early and often, reminding the players of trends and making sure they didn’t get their heads down. That constant reminding and some changes to the lineup ahead of the final game of the night helped things turn on their heads for Marshalltown.
Columbus Catholic started strong and took the first set by five points. But Sophie Younkin, Hayden Oetker and the revamped Marshalltown lineup that featured young players seeing action took control of the contest — stealing momentum from the Sailors and screaming with joy after some of their points. It was as if the Bobcats were taking out their frustrations from the loss to Waverly-Shell Rock on the Sailors. A 21-9 win gave Marshalltown the impetus headed into the third and final set. The new defensive strength upfront was something Peschong said was extremely important to see, particularly among the younger players.
After taking the lead with the first point of the set, Marshalltown never trailed. The Bobcats took the win and kept a winning record on the season at 3-2.
Taking the positives out of the evening, Peschong said it was crucial for Marshalltown to get games against strong competition ahead of conference play.
“We have not seen that pace of play yet this season, so I think it’s definitely a good thing to see that level of volleyball,” Peschong said. “We definitely need to keep working on how we play against those teams.”
Up next for the Bobcats is a home game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Waukee.