Class 2A fourth-ranked Council Bluffs St. Albert put on a clinic in its first trip to Creston for a Hawkeye 10 Conference contest in any sport here Tuesday, as the Saintes swept the Panthers in three games.
St. Albert rolled to a 25-6 win in game one, picked up a 25-15 win in game two and survived a tough test in game three, 26-24.
“We kind of showed in game three what we’re capable of doing,” Creston head coach Polly Luther said. “That didn’t really do us any good in games one and two.”
The Panthers jumped out to a 13-9 lead in game three when Angie Sorensen tipped the ball over the net, forcing St. Albert head coach Angie Lantz to call a timeout.
The Saintes quickly regained the lead at 14-13 and then 18-16, but Creston continued to fight back, trying to force a fourth game.
“I know that we’re capable of battling like that in sets one and two,” Luther said. “The girls just have to know that and we have to come out and play hard from the start.”
Later in the game, Sydney Dunphy terminated a point to tie the match at 23-23, but Grace Wettengel responded with a kill of her own to give the Saintes match point.
Sorensen tied the match at 24-24 with one of her team-high eight kills, but St. Albert won the next two points to win the match on a Kylie Ferguson kill from the middle.
“We kind of relaxed a little too much for my liking, and they know that,” Lantz said about the third game. “We tried to play everybody tonight and get them experience for our next matches coming up. That’s not always the best decision, but it’s a learning experience.”
Ferguson gave the Panthers fits hitting from the middle of the floor, while Emily Rindone and Allison Wettengel also proved to be strong weapons.
After the Panthers looked overwhelmed at times during the first two games, Creston played like Luther knows it can in game three.
“In game three, we finally started attacking the ball and we put points on the board,” Luther said. “Our passes were better, our digs were better, our sets were better, our attackers were getting up and hitting the ball. And our blockers were getting up and getting hands on it, which is pretty key since, obviously, Saint Albert is going to hit the ball.”
Lantz, who had never seen Creston before Tuesday’s contest, said she believes the Panthers are headed in the right direction.
“For the first time ever seeing them, they have a lot of potential,” she said. “They have some kids, give them a little time and they’re going to be pretty solid players. They’re a little raw in some aspects, but nothing that time and some touches on the ball isn’t going to fix.”
Creston, now 5-3 overall and 1-2 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference travels to Denison-Schleswig on Thursday. St. Albert improved to 13-1 for the season and 1-1 in the Hawkeye 10, with a loss to Lewis Central.
Serving (aces) — Haylee LaMasters 100 percent, Hanna Luther 100 percent, Alyssa Higgins 100 percent.
Attacks (kills) — Angie Sorensen 8, Sydney Dunphy 5, Jenna Taylor 4, Nicole Haley 3, Natalie Mostek 2, Hanna Luther 1.
Digs — Haylee LaMasters 8, Alli Thomsen 4, Jami Sickels 3, Natalie Mostek 2, Hanna Luther 1, Ashley Bargstadt 1.
The Creston JV team improved to 8-0 for the season with a 2-0 win over Council Bluffs St. Albert here on Tuesday.
Alyssa Higgins led the Panthers with 12 digs, while Olivia Nielsen and Audrey Fyock each recorded three aces.
“Tonight was a good win,” Creston JV coach Jessie McClellan said. “Marie Hood put the ball away for us countless times and really stepped up as a leader. Our girls are playing well, but need to buckle down and focus as we enter into more conference play.”
The Creston freshmen fell to 0-8 for the season with a 25-8, 25-14, 14-8 loss to Council Bluffs St. Albert here on Tuesday.
“We played a pretty good team,” freshman coach Mike McCabe said. “We did some good things, but still have to gain some consistency.”