A perfect 9-0 in postseason playNo. 14 Iowa Mennonite (26-9) one win away from state berth
VICTOR — The Belle Plaine volleyball team got its usual numbers from it top two hitters, senior Kameo Pope and junior Marisa Pope, who combined for 17 kills.
However, the rest of the team accounted for just three more kills as it suffered a 3-0 defeat to Iowa Mennonite, Friday.
IMS is now perfect in postseason play at 9-0, having not dropped a single set. It had wins of 25-18 twice and 25-17 over Belle Plaine.
“In game three we were up 20-10 and kind of let them back,” said IMS head coach Dwight Gingerich. “They had a run of three. After a timeout we were able to pull away. They wouldn’t go away. We made enough errors to let them in the game.”
Belle Plaine junior middle hitter Katie Willett hurt her knee in the first set and had to sit out the rest of the match.
IMS senior Casey Perez has largely been used as a setter as the team’s best passer, but is arguably the second best hitter on the team. She had 10 kills, second on the team.
“Casey Perez had an outstanding match,” Gingerich said. “She had a few more kills than normal. She was able to do it without a lot of errors. She had some nice tips finding holes. She had some nice attacks.”
Perez found time to lead her team in assists with 14 as the primary setter.
“She was still doing her job setting up senior Olivia Yutzy and our other hitters,” Gingerich said. “It was a good team win.”
Yutzy led the team’s five players with kills, with 11. She and Perez both had eight digs. Yutzy also led her team in hitting errors with seven.
“Olivia had a few more hitting error than (she does) sometimes,” Gingerich said. “She came through in the clutch each set. She played real well defensively. It was a solid match for her with floor play.”
Senior Kristin Davis and junior Riley Schmieder were first and second in digs with 15 and 11, respectively.
IMS had its way with the front line with nine blocks. Sophomore Natalie Graber had three blocks to lead the team. Perez, Yutzy and Schmieder all had two blocks, each.
“Schmieder and Graber did a nice job at the net,” Gingerich said. “They really battled Pope at the front line. They worked hard. They were pretty excited to get a block. Graber had two in a row.”
The team posted nearly three aces per set with eight total.
“We were able to get some at some pretty opportune times,” Gingerich said. “That always helps your team.”
Junior Demi Brezina, junior Hannah Miller and Perez each had two aces.
IMS had 70-of-73 successful serves for a 95.9 percent clip. Miller had the team’s top mark going 21-for-21 on serves.
“Miller did a nice job with her serving,” Gingerich said. “We are a team that has become gradually stronger through the season. I thought we played well. Our serving was pretty strong. We were pretty consistent there. We were hitting our spots pretty well. We were forcing them to have a tougher time passing.”
Yutzy had 33 attack attempts and Perez had 22.
“That was a game where because Casey was attacking so much, we found ourselves using her more,” Gingerich said. “That worked out real well for us.”
No. 14 IMS moves on to the regional final to face No. 2 Janesville at 7 p.m. at Center Point, Wednesday.