Redhawks sweep BCLUW, easing toward another conference crown

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - North Tama senior middle hitter Breanna Sebetka (3) tips the ball over BCLUW defender Mallori Jones during Tuesday’s Iowa Star Conference South Division volleyball match in Traer. Sebetka finished with seven kills in the Redhawks’ sweep, 25-15, 25-16, 25-14.

TRAER — Now well on their way to a sixth-consecutive Iowa Star South division title, North Tama volleyball has had to deal with high expectations from before the season began.

In Tuesday’s 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-14) sweep of conference foes BCLUW, the No. 2-ranked Redhawks showed why expectations for the team are so high internally and externally — while also showing that they’re not the finished product at this point in the season. North Tama is now 18-3 and 4-0 in Iowa Star South play, while BCLUW dropped to 10-12 and 3-1 in conference play.

jumping out to a 6-0 lead right after first serve sent the Redhawks into a strong position that they held throughout the first set, taking a 25-15 win in set one. BCLUW did cause problems, however, and Halstead said the Comets were playing at a pace North Tama didn’t like.

Head coach Channing Halstead called it a mixed performance from the home squad.

“It was a little slow going early,” Halstead said. “We were kind of playing at their pace.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - North Tama senior outside hitter Shae Ewoldt (5) goes up against BCLUW’s Virginia Kaisand for one of her team-leading 11 kills during Tuesday’s volleyball match in Traer.

“They were trying to tip us, and we did a good job of handling that. Just taking control of the tempo was a big thing.”

It was up to the Trojans to speed up the pace and make things difficult for the Comets, something Halstead said they didn’t really do until the middle of the second set — until that point relying on serving to create offense and score easy points.

Serving has been a struggle point at times for the Redhawks, and Halstead said the amount of work that’s gone into working on those issues has led to a night like Tuesday — where North Tama had nine service aces (led by three from Jadyn Rausch).

In set two, the Redhawks again jumped out to a 4-0 lead — but BCLUW fought hard and it was a close set halfway through. It was at this point, Halstead said, the Redhawks began to step up a gear.

“I thought that we took advantage of our serving, it took them out of system a lot,” Halstead said. “I thought Jadyn played a really nice job defensively, she picked up a lot of off-block junk and terminated it, so I was pleasantly pleased with that. We just finally decided to control the ball and do our pace.”

BCLUW’s year has been up-and-down, with solid performances against high-level opponents like Gladbrook-Reinbeck mixed in against frustrating showings by a youthful team learning to play without graduates like Allison Engle and Eden Wilson.

Sydney Anderson has been a mainstay in the team, but younger contributors like Grace Farnsworth and Virginia Kaisand have made an impact as well.

After a strong fight in the second set, the Comets were blown away by North Tama in the third set. Going up as much as 16-4 before the Comets scored points later on, the Redhawks’ attack (led by 11 kills from Shae Ewoldt and 28 assists from Rausch) iced the game early on.

Comets coach Abby Stephenson said this game was a learning experience, particularly with such a young squad.

“I think all these girls have stepped up,” Stephenson said. “We have lots of room to grow as well, this group is very young and I think that’s really promising.

“We take this as a learning moment.”

Breanna Sebetka had seven kills for the Redhawks, while Kruiz Ewoldt and Lainey Willenbring had six apiece. Addison Hochstetler led the team with 20 digs.

Up next for North Tama is a road match against Collins-Maxwell on Thursday, while BCLUW visits East Marshall on Thursday.


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