Emotional finale

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Hannah Schaeffer of St. Edmond spikes the ball against Humboldt on Thursday

It was an emotional Senior Night here Thursday for St. Edmond head volleyball coach Dee Huss.

Prior to the start of the final regular season match with Humboldt, the Gaels honored seniors Hannah Huss, Livi Huss and Hannah Schaeffer.

“You always wish for that one more season with each group, but this one is obviously a little more personal,” Huss said. “Hannah (Huss, Dee’s daughter) has had a great senior season, which you want from your seniors. Livi has continued to play great volleyball from start to finish, and getting Hannah Schaeffer to come back out was a big addition for our team.

“These girls aren’t done yet, but it was hard to end the season.”

The Wildcats assured themselves of no worse than a tie for second in the North Central Conference with the three-game sweep by scores of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-19.

After winning three consecutive league titles, Humboldt (24-7 overall, 5-2 in NCC) was unable to keep pace with No. 12 (Class 3A) Iowa Falls-Alden. The Cadets have already clinched the outright crown.

Junior Ashlyn Clark had a team-high 11 kills, with freshman Jori Hajek adding 10. Sydney Lane had eight kills and three blocks on the night.

“We’ve been struggling here as of late, so we needed to get some momentum going,” Humboldt head coach Justin McDaniel said. “We had a big win over a good Bishop Garrigan team and to come down here vs. a great St. Edmond team and get a win in three is big for us heading into the postseason.”

The Wildcats used several big runs to put the Gaels (15-13, 2-5) away, including a 9-4 rally in the first set and a 10-2 run in the second. They also put together a 9-1 burst in the third to give them a cushion.

“Humboldt is a well-oiled machine,” Huss said. “I felt like we were always in it, we just had a lull in the middle that hurt us.”

Hannah Huss had 10 kills, 21 digs and two blocks, Devyn Scott added six kills, and Macey Mason had 18 digs to go along with 10-for-10 serving.

Livi Huss recorded 24 assists and two aces, Erin Flattery had four blocks, and Schaeffer four kills and two blocks.

“We are starting to see other players stepping up, which is a perfect time for that to happen,” Huss said. “We are always trying to balance our offense and I saw some of that.”

Humboldt, which is now 38-8 over its last 46 NCC matches, opens up 3A, Region 1 play Wednesday vs. Pocahontas Area. The Wildcats have won 15 of their last 19 overall.

“We had some girls stepping in early with no experience and they played really well,” McDaniel said. “We hit a bit of a wall against some of the stronger teams we were playing, but I think our eyes are now open and we can do some good things.”

Kyah Arnold added seven kills and Claire Varangkounh had three.

The Gaels, who begin 2A, Region 3 action Tuesday at home vs. Eagle Grove, won their most matches since 2014 and have a chance to reach the 17-win mark from 2007.

In junior varsity action, Humboldt won 21-8, 21-9. They also claimed the freshman match, 21-8, 21-7.