Bobcats top off Mohawks in three sets

MASON CITY – The Marshalltown volleyball team got all the momentum it could out of its regular season finale, finishing off Mason City with a three-game sweep on Tuesday night.

The Bobcats (14-21, 2-1) ended up second in the Central Iowa Conference’s Northern Division behind Ames, but went into the postseason with an effort MHS coach Terri Westendorf was pleased with. Marshalltown won 25-14, 25-21, 25-18 over the host Mohawks (6-26, 0-3).

“The biggest thing with Mason City is they don’t come at you like a ‘normal’ team does,” Westendorf said. “They’re not the tallest team out there but they run a quick in the middle that was maybe quicker than we were prepared for, but that’s good for us to see and get ready for Ankeny Centennial.

“In game one we did a really good job of getting out of the gate early, we got some great digs and we were reading their hitters well and handling the ball well.”

MHS sophomore outside hitters Leiah Paustian and Rachel Whaley led the team with 13 and eight digs, respectively, while libero player Sharissa Stansberry had six and setter Lindsey Ricken had five. That foursome accounted for all but five of the Bobcats’ digs on the night.

Mason City made up some ground in the second set, but Marshalltown held on for the win and finished off the match in straight sets.

“We sat back a bit in the second game and started watching,” Westendorf said. “But we finished it off and then reaffirmed our start in game three, the girls really held their own.”

Paustian paced MHS with 12 kills and Whaley had nine. Sophomore middle hitter Haley Vajgrt contributed seven kills and Sam Hughes added four more as the Bobcats tried to balance their attack.

“We’ve got to get more contributions from more people,” Westendorf said of an offense that has featured outside hitters Paustian and Whaley most of the season. “We try to move around who we’ve got who’s hitting, but we also need to be getting more sets to our middles and our right-side hitters … and we did that tonight.”

Ricken finished with 14 assists and Amanda Hughes had 13 more, while Emily Rebik led the way with three blocks. MHS served 68-for-71 as a team, with Rebik going 15-for-15 with one of the Bobcats’ three aces.

Mason City was paced by Trisha Notermann’s 14 kills, and Aubury Coleman had 10 more. The duo accounted for 24 of the Mohawks’ 29 kills. Ashley Rottinghaus had 28 assists.

The Bobcats hope to maintain a varied offense as they prepare for their postseason opener. Marshalltown’s Class 5A regional run begins with a semifinal against Ankeny Centennial on Oct. 31 in Ankeny. The Jaguars entered Tuesday ranked sixth with a 29-8 record, already boasting a 3-0 regular-season sweep of MHS.

“We’re going to be without two of our regular players who will be out of town, so we’re just trying to set ourselves up as best as we can with what we’ll have,” Westendorf said. “Then hopefully we can cover what we know is coming.”