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NCC QUEENS

Clarion-Goldfield/Dows wraps up league volleyball title

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla The Clarion-Goldfield/dows volleyball team celebrates in their match against Humboldt on Thursday night in Clarion. The Cowgirls won the NCC title for the second year. For more photos, visit CU at messengernews.net

CLARION — There are plenty of goals left to cross off their list, but after Thursday night, the second-ranked Clarion-Goldfield/Dows volleyball team can put another trophy in their case.

For the second straight season the Cowgirls (23-2 overall, 6-0 North Central Conference) earned the league title, finishing unbeaten in conference play.

C-G/D knocked off 11th-ranked Humboldt (29-3, 6-1) in straight sets, 25-10, 25-19 and 25-20.

The Cowgirls, led by a six-pack of seniors, are glad to call themselves league champions, and now they will turn their focus on returning to state for the third straight season.

“It’s really special to win the conference,” said C-G/D head coach Katrina TerHark. “We were ready to go and they were hyped for their last regular season match of playing together.

“These girls have so much experience. The sets got a little tight, but we stuck with our gameplan and did what we needed to do.”

In front of a packed home crowd, the Cowgirls burst onto the scene earning a 15-point first set match.

“Our goal was to come out and start strong,” TerHark said. “One of our main goals was to keep the ball away from Jori (Hajek, Humboldt senior). She is such a strong player.

“Our serve receive and blocking was unbelievable. Along with Waverly-Shell Rock they were the best two wins for us by far. This match could have went either way.”

After the big win in the first set, the contest got a little tighter with six and five point victories.

“It was such a fun atmosphere and you knew that it was going to be a fight,” TerHark said. “He (Justin McDaniel, Humboldt head coach) changed his lineup in the third game and we expected that.

“We tried to take them out of their gameplan. They have a great scrappy defense that can chase anything down, and we told our girls to play through the whistle. It was a great win and especially with COVID and all of the protocols that we’ve had to go through makes it really great.”

The senior six of Morgan Middleton, Jadyn Jondle, Kendall Lienemann, Emma Conlon, Alaina Friesleben, and Nicole Waters had big nights for the Cowgirls.

Middleton finished with 25 kills, while sophomore Lexie Lane had eight. Lane and Lienemann had two aces for the Cowgirls who served 70-for-72 on the night, which was a 97 percent clip.

Friesleben had 28 assists and five blocks and Lane had three blocks. Jondle had 10 digs. The Cowgirls finished with 12 blocks as a team.

“Going into the match we were very confident and had a goal in mind,” Jondle said. “As a team, we started off very strong and continued to be aggressive throughout all three matches.

“Everyone did their role on the court and gave 100 percent. The environment from the crowd was great (Thursday) and everyone on the team was connecting. It was a great team effort.”

Hajek and Kendal Clark led the Wildcats with eight kills each.

Deni McDaniel had 21 assists and 12 digs. Hajek added 23 digs.

Clark and Lily Groat had 10 digs each.

“They got off to a big lead in the first set. We started off scared,” McDaniel said. “In the second set they started quick again with a 16-7 lead. At one point we were able to fight back, but it was too late.

“The third set was fun and we were playing with them, but we had too many errors to finish in the end.”

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