What started out as a promising night for the St. Edmond volleyball team ended in disappointing fashion here Thursday.
Facing Webster City in their 2014 North Central Conference opener, the Gaels (7-3 overall, 0-1 NCC) were downed in four games at the SEHS gym.
Scores were 11-25, 25-22, 25-21 and 25-21 in favor of the Lynx (2-1, 1-0).
—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
St. Edmond’s Livi Huss makes the block against Webster City's Molly Gilbert. For more photos, visit CU at messengernews.net
"Our girls came out really strong and aggressive, playing with a high intensity level," St. Edmond head coach Dee Huss said. "We literally played a flawless first game. We really had (Webster City) on their heels, but they are a good 4A team that was ranked (14th) in the preseason. We knew they were going to make some adjustments."
In the first set, the Gaels gained control early behind three kills from senior Madeline Baldwin. After the momentum briefly shifted on a 5-0 run by the Lynx, another Baldwin kill later sealed the deal.
"I don't know if we weren't ready at the beginning or what," said WCHS head coach Jess Howard. "I was really proud, though, of how we bounced back in the next three games. It was a good team effort by the girls."
Leading 18-14 in Game 2, St. Edmond saw the Lynx answer with four consecutive points to even the score. Taylor Schnathorst's kill later capped a 6-3 Webster City burst in crunch time. The Lynx never trailed in the third set, using a quick 9-2 flurry to pull away. Despite slicing the deficit to just two ponts down the stretch, the Gaels failed to get over the hump.
"I was really proud of the fight our girls showed," Huss said. "Our four seniors are definitely are anchors. They have done a great job of taking our three starting underclassmen under their wings."
Webster City slammed the door on any St. Edmond comeback attempt by recording seven of the last nine points in Game 4. Two Alex Dinsdale kills and one kill apiece from Molly Gilbert and Mikaleh McCoy keps the Gaels at bay.
Gilbert (15 kills and 13 digs), Hannah Myers (15 kills, four aces and two blocks), Gianna Gourley (23 digs), McCoy (three blocks) and Schnathorst (41 assists) paced the balanced Lynx attack.
For the Gaels, senior outside hitter Anna Yung went a perfect 31-for-31 serving with two aces and 13 kills. Freshman Hannah Huss was also 11 of 14 from the service line with four aces and three kills. Jill Salinas (10-for-10 serving), Clare Flattery (five blocks and four kills) and Livi Huss (four blocks) were the other top performers for St. Edmond, which had its five-match winning streak halted.
"We have all next week off now, so we're definitely going to take advantage of that by working on our serving and rotations," said Huss.
With the victory, defending NCC co-champion Webster City has now prevailed over the Gaels in seven straight matches and 21 of their past 24 games since the start of the 2008 campaign.
St. Edmond's junior varsity also fell short last night, 25-17 and 25-19, while the freshman squad came out on top, 21-19, 14-21, 15-8.
Next action for the Gaels is Sept. 13 at the South Central Calhoun Invitational in Rockwell City. The Lynx travel to the Algona Invitational on Saturday.