Clarinda overcame 2-0 deficit against Creston Thursday, Sept. 5, as the Cardinals pulled out a thrilling 3-2 win in front of their home fans to start the 2019 volleyball season.
“There’s nothing like a five set thriller to open up our season. It’s always great to get the first win of the season under our belt, and to do it in comeback fashion is a great feeling,” Clarinda co-coach Macy Elwood said.
In the opening set Clarinda held an early lead over Creston. However, the Panthers battled back to squeak out a 26-24 win over the Cardinals. The Panthers then collected a 25-21 win in the second game.
“We got down 2-0 and the girls could have hung their heads, but we went out of the gym in between sets two and three and the team was not down at all. They came back into the gym with more momentum and something to prove. That shows a lot of mental toughness. I could not be more proud of the mental aspect of our game,” Elwood said.
Clarinda turned the table with a 25-22 win in the third set. The Cardinals then tied the score at 2 with a narrow 25-23 win fourth set. Then, in the fifth and deciding game, the Cardinals completed the comeback with an exciting 15-13 victory.
Spearheading the comeback for Clarinda was Morgan Lihs. The senior led the Cardinals with 26 kills and four blocks. She also turned in 19 digs.
“Morgan Lihs was making a lot of plays for us offensively and defensively on the court,” Elwood said.
Also making plenty of plays for Clarinda were Hallee Fine and Cloe Holmstrom as they turned in nine and eight kills respectively. Fine was also credited with five digs, while Holmstrom collected three digs and one assist.
Faith Espinosa collected five kills and two blocks. Setter Teya Stickler tallied 63 assists to go along with 10 digs and four kills.
Jessalee Neihart finished with four digs, two kills and one assist. Riley Morgenstern added 13 digs, seven assists and one kill. Saige Brown contributed nine digs and two assists, while Bradlie Wilmes had seven digs.
From the service line, the Cardinals converted 85 percent of their attempts. They also collected 14 ace serves.
Stickler paced Clarinda with six aces. Morgenstern provided four aces, while Fine and Neihart tallied three and one ace respectively.
“We limited the serving errors in sets three, four and five to push us to the wins. Teya Stickler certainly helped by adding six aces,” Elwood said.
The Cardinals returned to the court Saturday, Sept. 7, to host the Clarinda Tournament. The Cardinals went 2-1 in pool play, but were defeated by Tri-Center in the semifinals.
Tri-Center came away with a 2-0 win over Clarinda to reach the tournament finals against Council Bluffs St. Albert. The Trojans won the opening set 21-11 and closed out the match with a 21-14 victory.
Lihs led Clarinda with seven kills to go along with one block and one dig. Fine and Neihart each provided three kills. Fine added three digs, while Neihart finished with two digs.
Espinosa was credited with two kills, while Holmstrom had one kill. Stickler recorded 15 assists, one dig and one block.
Taylor Cole led the Cardinals with four digs. Brown and Wilmes each collected one assist and one dig. Also picking up one dig was Morgenstern.
At the service line, Clarinda converted 84.6 percent of its attempts. Stickler accounted for the only ace for the Cardinals.
Clarinda started the day with a 2-0 win over Wayne in pool play. The Cardinals followed up a 21-10 win in the first set with a 21-14 win in game two.
The Cardinals put together another balanced net attack anchored by seven kills from Lihs. She also had one dig and one block.
Espinosa and Fine each turned in three kills. Fine also had three digs.
Holmstrom finished with two kills, while Neihart had one kill. Neihart added two digs, while Holmstrom provided one block.
Stickler accounted for all 14 assists the Cardinals had in the match. She also provided one block. Brown and Morgenstern chipped in with one dig each.
The Cardinals also benefited from six ace serves against Wayne as they converted 87.2 percent of their serves overall. Stickler hammered home four aces, while Fine and Lihs accounted for the other two.
However, in the second round of pool play, Clarinda suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Stanton. The Viqueens won the opening set 21-14, but the Cardinals fought back with a 21-13 win. Then, in the deciding set, Stanton held off Clarinda 15-12 for the win.
Lihs continued her strong net play with a team-high 10 kills and four blocks. She also picked up two digs and one assist.
Fine tacked on four kills four kills. She also recorded one assist and one dig. Finishing with one kill apiece were Espinosa, Holmstrom and Stickler. Holmstrom also had one dig in the match.
Stickler was credited with 11 assists and two digs. Neihart and Wilmes added one assist apiece, while Neihart also provided four digs for Clarinda.
Brown paced the Cardinals with eight digs. Morgenstern followed with six digs, while Cole turned in two digs.
The Cardinals also had a 90.2 success rate at the service line against Stanton. Brown and Morgenstern each had one ace.
In the final match of pool play, Clarinda came away with a 2-1 win over eventual tournament champion St. Albert. Clarinda took the opening set 22-20. Then, after dropping a 21-17 decision in the second set, the Cardinals pulled out a 15-10 win to take the match.
Lihs provided a dominating 19 kills in the match as Clarinda finished with 30 kills as a team. Lihs also collected six digs and two assists.
Fine and Neihart each turned in four kills. Neihart also had four digs, while Fine had one.
Espinosa contributed two kills and one dig. Stickler accounted for the other kill to go along with a team-high 23 assists and six digs.
Morgenstern paced Clarinda with eight digs and had one assist, while Brown tallied five digs. Wilmes followed with four digs and Holmstrom one dig.
Clarinda also delivered its best performance of the tournament from the service line. Clarinda was successful on 49 of its 52 serves for a 94.2 percent success rate. The Cardinals also received aces from Fine and Stickler.