Bobcats net 10th at Johnston Invite

JOHNSTON – The Marshalltown volleyball team managed to avenge one of its previous tournament losses in advancing to the consolation finals of the 16-team Johnston Invitational on Saturday.

The Bobcats (13-21) fell in straight sets to Class 4A No. 13-ranked Newton in the match to decide ninth place, 25-15, 25-18, but posted a 3-3 record on the day.

Marshalltown made it out of pool play with a third-place finish, highlighted by a three-set win over Boone and a three-set loss to 5A No. 5 Johnston. MHS opened the day against the host Dragons, taking the opening set from them before falling 21-23, 21-7, 15-11. Johnston, which entered the day 25-3, had surrendered only eight sets prior to Saturday’s opener.

Southeast Polk dispatched the Bobcats in the second round of pool play, 21-6, 21-9, but MHS snapped back to take down Boone in three, 17-21, 21-17, 15-13.

In the consolation bracket, Marshalltown opened with wins over Greene County, 25-16, 25-14, and Waukee, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13. The victory over Waukee avenged an earlier season loss at the Sept. 28 Cedar Falls Invitational in which the ‘Cats fell in the final set by two points. Newton swept MHS in the day’s finale.

“We handled Greene County and controlled our side of the net,” MHS coach Terri Westendorf said of her squad. “We played a great match against Waukee, and I loved being able to avenge that loss.

“We were kind of hit-or-miss with who was ‘on’ or who was ‘off,’ but overall it was a good weekend of ball.”

Marshalltown’s two outside hitters accounted for 74 percent of the team’s kills on the night, as Rachel Whaley collected 54 kills and Leiah Paustian had 38 more. Emily Rebik contributed 10 kills and nine blocks, while Hallie Vajgrt added eight kills and nine blocks.

Paustian also posted team-leading numbers with 42 digs, while libero player Sharissa Stansberrry contributed 37 more. Molly Major added 25 digs and served 42-of-43 with two aces.

Whaley racked up eight aces on 29-of-30 serving, while Paustian was 37-of-40 with five aces.

Lindsey Ricken totaled 55 assists and Amanda Hughes had 38 more.

MHS is back in action on Tuesday, closing out the regular season with a Northern Division contest at Mason City (6-25, 0-2).