Mustangs’ energy and serving the difference in 3-0 sweep

George-Little Rock 25-25-25 3

Rock Valley 8-21-18 0

ROCK VALLEY-The George-Little Rock volleyball team knew it would have to come out focused and energized for a tough Siouxland Conference match on the road with Rock Valley. The Mustangs got that done in set one and then used a good serving attack to claim a 25-8, 25-21, 25-18 sweep Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The Rockets’ student section always tends to fire up Rock Valley for its home matches, so coach Carissa Judge new her team had to be able to match that energy on the court in set one.

“Rock Valley usually plays with a ton of energy and celebrates big no matter the score, so we knew we had to be loud and celebrate big ourselves,” Judge said. “Our girls did just that and it was so much fun watching them play with all that intensity.”

Judge noted her team’s serving made the difference, especially in set one. Overall the Mustangs served at an .877 clip with three aces. Inddividually, Kayla Gerken went 15-for-17 with one ace, Makenna Arends 6-for-8 with no aces, Emily Jensen 7-for-9 with no aces, Michaella Johnson 12-for-12 with one ace, Madilyn Matuska 16-for-17 with one ace, and Julia Storm 8-for-10 with no aces.

“We had very strong serving that first set that helped get the lead and keep momentum on our side. We had serving runs of 5 or more by four different girls,” she said.

The Rockets adjusted their defense in set two to dig up those serves and made set two a closer battle, but George-Little Rock still managed to claim a 4-point victory.

“Going into that second set we knew they were going to come out strong, so we needed to try to carry any momentum we could from the first set and come out strong,” Judge said. “The second set was a battle back-and-forth. They were attacking much better and serving stronger than they did the first set. This did get us out of system a little more than we would like, but our girls stayed calm and played smart to not give them any points.”

For the final set that decided the match, Judge noted the serving of Matuska allowed her team to come away with the sweep.

“The third set, Madilyn Matuska had a couple nice runs of 5 for us, which helped us get a lead midway through the game and then helped us finish strong at the end,” Judge said. “We played as a team the whole night and didn’t let our mistakes startle us or affect the next play. I was proud of our girls for the way we played and I hope we can continue to play this way going into tournament play next week.”

Gerken led the offensive attack with seven kills, Storm also had seven kills, Kaci Klinkenberg had four, Johnson had three and Mackenzie Fugitt had three. Johnson also passed for 13 assists with Matuska dishing out 12 in the two-setter offense. On defense, Arends grabbed 25 digs, Gerken had 12, Matuska had five and Storm had five.

Mustangs come up short to ninth-ranked Dutch

George-Little Rock 6-24-4 0

MOC-Floyd Valley 25-26-25 3

ORANGE CITY-Despite what the final score between Class 3A ninth-ranked MOC-Floyd Valley and George-Little Rock indicated, the Mustangs still felt they gained momentum forregional tournament play after a 25-6, 26-24, 25-4 defeat to the Dutch in Siouxland Conference volleyball Thursday, Oct. 12.

George-Little Rock coach Carissa Judge gave credit to MOC-Floyd Valley for the way it played against her team.

“MOC is a great team and there is a reason why they are ranked ninth in Class 3A. They have aggressive serving and attack the ball hard,” Judge said. “The first and third sets, we really struggled getting a side-out. They were digging everything we were giving them (the Dutch finished the night with 66 digs).”

However, Judge said the scores of those two sets are deceptive.

“I don’t feel the scores of the first and third sets do us justice on how hard we played them. I also loved how our girls were fighting for every point no matter what the score was,” Judge said.

The second set proved to be the best set for the Mustangs. They had a chance to maybe win the set as George-Little Rock held a 24-18 lead, but MOC-Floyd Valley got a side-out and went on an 8-1 run to end game two.

“The second set we tried to get them out of system more, which led them to making some unforced errors and our girls did a great job of capitalizing on their mistakes,” Judge noted. “We also played smarter on offense, which allowed us to get some kills ourselves and earn our points.”

Judge felt this was a good match for her team heading into Tuesday, Oct. 17, for its regional tournament game with Trinity Christian.

“Matches like this can only make us better and stronger as we get ready for post-season next week,” she said.

Madisen Dreesen and Michaella Johnson led the offense with three kills each. Wynonna Steenhoven grabbed two kills. Madilyn Matuska passed for five assists and Johnson passed for four assists in the two-setter offense. On defense, Makenna Arends and Julia Storm grabbed 11 digs each. Kayla Gerken and Johnson had eight digs each and Matuska had four.

On the service line, Arends went 10-for-10 with one ace, Johnson 7-for-7 with one ace and Storm 8-for-8 with one ace.

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