Oskaloosa Invitational tough on Bobcat netters

OSKALOOSA – The bright spots had a hard time peeking through what turned out to be an otherwise gray day for the Marshalltown volleyball team at the Oskaloosa Invitational.

The Bobcats (10-17) went 1-3 for the tournament, capturing their lone win during pool play against Fairfield. MHS also fell to Gilbert, Ottumwa and Gilbert again in bracketed play. All four of the Bobcats’ matches went the maximum three sets, but only one was a winner for Marshalltown.

“The attacks were inconsistent,” said Bobcat coach Terri Westendorf. “But the one thing I was most disappointed in was our scrappiness. We really could have played a lot scrappier, that would have given us more opportunities to attack the ball.

“I’m disappointed in the day but we’ve just got to pick it up and go to Senior Night on Tuesday.”

The Bobcats host Ames (19-13, 1-0) in Central Iowa Conference Northern Division play in their final game at the Roundhouse, though they won’t take much momentum into that match. Marshalltown won its tournament opener against Fairfield, 21-7, 15-21, 15-11, but lost its next three to close the day – all with two-point defeats in the deciding third set. In pool play, MHS fell to Gilbert, 21-14, 17-21, 20-18, and Ottumwa, 21-11, 20-22, 19-17, before losing to Gilbert again (16-25, 25-22, 15-13) in bracketed play.

Marshalltown’s outside hitters led the way at the net, with Leiah Paustian and Rachel Whaley both accumulating 36 kills. Middle hitters Emily Rebik and Haley Vajgrt contributed 13 kills apiece. Setters Lindsey Ricken and Jordyn Simbedes totaled 40 and 30 assists, respectively, and Amanda Hughes had 11.

Vajgrt posted a team-best seven blocks and Rebik had four. Vajgrt served 33-for-37 with seven aces, and Ricken was 32-for-34 with seven aces as well. Paustian went 36-for-37 with four aces, and Simbedes was a perfect 21-for-21.

Whaley posted a team-leading 42 digs, chipped in two blocks and served 25-for-26 with four aces. Paustian had 28 digs, Sharissa Stansberry added 23 and Ricken had 21 for the Bobcats.

“I thought Jordyn Simbedes stepped in and was setting some really nice games for us, and Haley Vajgrt shined in the last game when she had been struggling earlier,” said Westendorf. “We served very well overall and had a lot of aces but just didn’t have enough on the attack.”