Timberwolves earn top seed in conference tourney
CORNING — Southwest Valley secured the No. 1 seed in the western division of the Pride of Iowa Conference for the upcoming conference tournament with a 25-11, 18-25, 25-16, 25-14 win over rival Bedford here on Tuesday.
The Timberwolves will host opening rounds and quarterfinals of the POI Conference Tournament on Monday.
“It was a big win for us,” head coach Lindsay Wetzel said. “They’d beaten us once, so of course we wanted to get them back. Bedford, for us, has always kind of been a rivalry anyway. So on senior night and parents’ night for these kids, that was great.”
Bedford defeated Southwest Valley 2-1 at the Shenandoah Tournament on Sept. 14.
The Bulldogs got out to a hot start here Tuesday, jumping out to a 7-3 lead on the Timberwolves in game one.
But, it didn’t take long for Southwest Valley to stifle the Bulldogs.
A Sydney Maynes kill made the score 7-4, and senior Mikayla Dolch went to the service line, where she reeled off six straight points to give the Timberwolves a 10-7 advantage.
After Bedford cut the lead to 16-11, another senior, Kelsie Kinman, went to the service line and served eight straight points, including a pair of aces, to close the game out at 25-11.
“I think we kind of came out a little nervous, not playing our game,” Wetzel said. “We weren’t hitting. We were just kind of playing scared. Once we started attacking the ball, it was a whole different ballgame. It was great to be able to come back and for us to beat them 25-11 when we were down 7-3 is fantastic for those kids.”
Bedford bounced back to take the second game 25-18 to even the match at 1-1, but Southwest Valley went right back to work in game three as Maynes turned a 12-8 Timberwolves lead into an 18-8 lead with a service string.
Kinman hit two cross court kills during the second game, tucking both just inside the line for points, as the Timberwolves went on to win the game 25-16.
With a raucous student section sensing a Southwest Valley victory after taking the 2-1 lead, the Timberwolves had to use yet another rally to overcome a deficit in game four.
Bedford took a 9-5 lead on a Callyn Bonde kill, forcing Wetzel to call timeout. The Bulldogs won the first point out of the timeout to take a 10-5 lead, and shortly thereafter took an 11-8 lead.
Maynes had a pair of kills and Caitlyn Damewood served an ace in a seven-point flurry that gave the Timberwolves a 15-11 lead.
The two teams traded points back and forth, as Bedford made it an 18-14 game, but Dolch earned a point for Southwest Valley, putting Casaundra Currin on the service line.
Currin dropped in back-to-back aces, sending the crowd into a frenzy. With each point the Timberwolves won, the crowd grew louder and louder.
Dolch hit the ball off the Bedford blockers for a 22-14 lead and Currin followed that up with another ace. Jade Petersen tipped the ball over the net for a 24-14 lead and Marie Palmer earned match point for the Timberwolves.
“It felt good,” Wetzel said about getting revenge for the loss to Bedford earlier in the season. “We did a much better job. At Shenandoah, (Madison) Walston killed us on that quick, because our block wasn’t staying with her. Our block was staying with the middle, and we did a much better job of preparing for that and getting our block moved over.”
Palmer finished with a team-high 14 kills, as Kinman and Maynes each finished with seven. Palmer also recorded four solo blocks and one block assist.
Damewood and Currin each set 16 assists for the Timberwolves. Currin led the team with four ace serves.
Sleep, meanwhile, played a strong defensive game, finishing with 18 digs. Kinman added 13 digs.
“I thought Sierra did a good job defensively,” Wetzel said. “If she wasn’t back there running around, we would not have gotten half of those balls up. Sierra had a great night. She was getting stuff up all over.”
The Timberwolves, now 16-4 for the season, hosts a quadrangular on Thursday against Mount Ayr, Clarinda and Treynor. They then host the opening rounds and quarterfinals of the POI Conference Tournament on Monday.
Semifinals and finals of the POI Conference Tournament are Tuesday in Truro.
“We’re the No. 1 seed and we host,” Wetzel said about the conference tournament. “That’s never happened since I’ve been coach here, so that’s awesome for the girls. We’re looking forward to playing Tuesday night. Again, we’ve never played Tuesday night since I’ve been here, and we’d much rather go play than go watch.”
Southwest Valley statistics
Serving (aces) — Kelsie Kinman 16-17 (2), Caitlyn Damwood 14-14 (2), Sierra Sleep 8-8, Casaundra Currin (4), Sydney Maynes (3), Mikayla Dolch (3)
Attacks (kills) — Marie Palmer 14, Kelsie Kinman 7, Sydney Maynes 7
Blocks (solo-assists) — Marie Palmer 4-1, Kelsie Kinman 1-1, Sydney Maynes 1-0
Setting (assists) — Caitlyn Damewood 16, Casaundra Currin 16
Digs — Sierra Sleep 18, Kelsie Kinman 13.