Katrina TerHark knew her Clarion-Goldfield/Dows volleyball team was ready to get North Central Conference action started.

After hosting a tournament this past weekend that saw them go 5-1, TerHark and the Cowgirls picked up a four-set victory over St. Edmond here Thursday night.

Scores were 25-19, 21-25, 25-21 and 25-20.

“I felt like after the long weekend, the girls were excited to get league play going,” TerHark said. “We are still far from being perfect, but I liked what I saw.

“We’re battling some illness and injuries, which has slowed us down in terms of getting our rotations set. But it is still early in the season and we’ll get better.”

Senior Ana Johnson led Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (6-1 overall, 1-0 in NCC) with 13 kills, adding two blocks and two aces to her line. Sophomore Haley Nerem added six kills and senior Lili Swanson had five.

“I thought we were able to put it together in the final stages of each set,” TerHark said. “The girls got into a rhythm and really started passing the ball well.”

The Cowgirls tallied four of the final five points to claim the first and the final three points in both the third and fourth sets.

“We really played a great match throughout,” SEHS head coach Dee Huss said. “Clarion-Goldfield/Dows just made the plays when they needed them. Our girls battled and continue to show improvement which is exactly what we want to see.”

Megan Flattery paced the Gaels (4-4, 0-1) with nine kills and three blocks, with Erin Flattery adding five aces. Hannah Huss had seven kills and Madi Engels four.

“St. Edmond is a much-improved team and they are going to win some matches this year,” TerHark said. “You can tell that they played a lot over the summer. They are tough when Megan Flattery is in the front row. I was really impressed with how they played.”

Facing defeat, the Gaels rallied to take a 6-3 lead early in the fourth. That’s when the Cowgirls got back on a roll, reeling off six consecutive points and 12 of 17. They finished the match by scoring nine of the final 12 points.

“I was really proud of our serve receive, which is where it all starts for us on offense,” Huss said. “Macey (Mason) and Hannah did a great job there. We showed good ball movement for much of the match, as well.”

The Cowgirls also claimed both the junior varsity and freshman matches. Clarion-Goldfield/Dows won the JV, 21-5, 19-21, 15-7 and the ninth-grade match, 21-13, 15-21, 15-4.

St. Edmond is now off until next Thursday when they travel to Algona, while the Cowgirls host ninth-ranked (Class 3A) Humboldt that same evening.