Bulldogs rally in each game, score sweep at Postville


MFL MarMac sophomore Brinan Berger spikes the ball over Postville’s Lakken Cox during last Thursday’s Upper Iowa Conference match. 
POSTVILLE — MFL MarMac closed all three sets with long rallies on their way to a 3-0 volleyball sweep at Postville Thursday.
Set scores were 25-12, 25-18 and 25-12.
The Bulldogs (1-1 overall, 1-0 Upper Iowa Conference) also dropped a straight sets match at Cascade in their season opener Tuesday, 25-12, 25-14, 25-15.
Coach Kelly Winter said slow starts in both matches are something the team will need to work on.
“What I’m finding out is they take a long time to warm up,” she said. “That’s kind of why we’re trying to do the jump ropes in the beginning, to get them going. They just aren’t real confident of themselves and it takes a few games to get going and I just can’t figure out why that is.”
One factor, Winter admitted, could be the team’s inexperience against varsity competition. Only one player who saw regular action Thursday had been in the regular lineup last year and six of the nine Bulldogs who took the floor had never before played in a varsity match.
“I think maybe they are a little bit unsure of themselves,” she said. “They’ve played a lot of volleyball, just not at the varsity level. I think the atmosphere sometimes gets in their head – they have a hard time blocking that out.” 
The first set was tied 11-11 before a back-to-back Postville errors sparked six-point rally that gave the Bulldogs a lead they would hold the rest of the set. Bailey Winter served the final six points, three of which came on aces.
Postville took a 6-4 lead in the second set before MFL MarMac took control with a 9-2 rally highlighted by a kill and back-to-back blocks by RoseMary McGeough that gave it a 13-8 lead.  Postville came back to tie the score 14-14 and it was still 17-17 four sideouts later when the team’s lone experienced returnee, Jayde Schubert, served a 7-0 rally that included a pair of aces.
Postville jumped ahead 6-2 in the third set, prompting Coach Winter to use an early timeout. That seemed to settle the Bulldogs, who scored seven of the set’s next eight points, tying the set on a Brinan Berger kill. The score was 11-11 when back-to-back Pirate attack errors gave MFL MarMac a lead it would hold the rest of the night. Berger served an 11-point rally and B. Winter recorded kills on four of the Bulldogs’ final six points.
Winter used Thursday’s match against Postville to try a new offense. Instead of the two-setter 6-2 offense they had been practicing and had used in the opener at Cascade, the Bulldogs came out in a single-setter 5-1 offense Thursday with junior Brenna Boland at the setter spot.
Read the full article in the Wednesday, August 30, 2017 edition of The Outlook.