IMS started the season with three wins and zero losses at the annual “Steve Hisel” Fairfield Quad volleyball tournament on Thursday. This was the first time since 2010 that IMS has won this tournament. “This is a nice way to start the season and should give the team some confidence going into conference play,” coach Miller commented. Conference play starts Thursday Aug. 31st, at Wapello.
As in years past, IMS started out the evening playing the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets, a perennial strong team. The Rockets jumped out to a 1-6 lead forcing IMS to take a time out. “I could tell the team was nervous and just needed to calm down,” coach Miller said. Eddyville led by as many as nine points (3 – 12) before IMS settled down and started closing the gap. A kill by Rubye Ney brought the score to 19 – 20, but Eddyville was able to maintain their lead and win the first set 20 – 25.
In set two, Alyssa Hershberger started IMS off with a kill. The two teams traded side-outs, until IMS started breaking away at 10 – 5, and did not lose the lead again. Suzanna Yoder and Mia Graber had back-to-back kills, and Joya Schrock had a timely ace, to help cement the second set win 25 – 23. “The team was able to put mistakes behind them, and not get rattled when the scores were close,” coach Miller noted.
Eddyville took the lead 0 – 2 in the decisive third set, but a kill by senior Alyssa Hershberger got IMS back in the game, and at 5 – 5. Mia Graber had a kill to put IMS in the lead for the remainder of the set. IMS won the third set 15 – 8.
Statistically leaders for the match were: Samantha Miller with 11 assists, Suzanna Yoder with four kills and 10 digs. Alyssa Hershberger and Rubye Ney had one solo block each.
In the second match of the night, IMS faced the Albia Blue Demons. IMS started out slow, but an ace by Suzanna Yoder tied the score at 2 – 2. IMS again lost the lead at 2 – 3, but a kill by Mia Graber tied the score again, and after that, IMS never lost the lead, winning the set 25 – 20. Albia started out with the momentum and jumped out to a 0 – 6 lead before IMS was able to get on the board. “We were very sluggish and not moving our feet well,” coach Miller stated. Similar to the Eddyville match, IMS dug themselves a hole in the score, and had to climb out one point at a time. Albia did not give up the lead easily, but IMS was able to keep the pressure on the Blue Demons, forcing them to make two unforced errors at 23 – 23, giving IMS the 25 – 23 win. ‘Though it was not the prettiest win, the team was able to get the job done, and not allow a close set to slip away. This is one of the team’s goals we are focusing on this season, not letting the close matches slip away,” coach Miller stated.
Statistical leaders for the match were: Samantha Miller with 10 assists, Mia Graber five kills, and Suzanna Yoder with 10 digs.
In the third match of the evening, IMS took on an emotionally charged Fairfield who had just come off a thrilling 36 – 34 second set win over Eddyville. Fairfield held onto that energy and won the first set 21 – 25. Mia Graber had a solo block and senior Avery Blauvelt had an ace for IMS.
The second set started out with a 2 – 4 Fairfield lead, but IMS battled to tie the score at 4 – 4 on a hitting error by Fairfield. The largest point gap was five points, 11 – 6 in favor of IMS, but Fairfield battled back and took the lead 17 – 18. On a defensive error by IMS, Fairfield went ahead 19 – 23, which could have turned into a win for the Trojans. However, showing grit and determination, IMS stopped Fairfield at 23 points with a kill followed with a solo block by sophomore Mia Graber. This brought the score to 22 – 23. Strong serving by senior Avery Blauvelt helped cause an unforced error by Fairfield, which allowed IMS to tie the score 23 – 23. At this point, the Trojans were not able to close out the match, making two hitting errors, giving IMS the 25 – 23 set win.
IMS started out the third set behind 0 – 1, but quickly tied at 1 – 1. After that, IMS took the lead and never looked back, taking advantage of Trojan hitting and service errors, which ultimately led to the 15 – 7 third set, and match win for IMS.
“I am very proud of our team tonight. In practice, we have been working on how to keep pressure on our opponent, making smart choices, and when the score is close, not let the set or match get away from us. While there will be statistical leaders from tonight’s matches, they could not have those statistics, if it weren’t for their teammate doing their jobs for the team. This tournament is always a good early season test for us. Though we came away with some wins, we were shown we have much to work and focus on in the upcoming weeks,” coach Miller deftly stated.
Statistical leaders for the match were: Samantha Miller with 19 assists, Mia Graber seven kills and 10 digs, Suzanna Yoder 10 digs, Avery Blauvelt two aces.