Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1061616

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2014

Mid-Prairie pushes Tigers in 4 sets

Golden Hawks take 2nd game, fall 25-23 in 4th game with chance to extend it to 5th set
By Hunter Tickel | Sep 27, 2013
Photo by: Hunter Tickel Junior Taylor Kurtz attempts a block for Mid-Prairie. Kurtz was second on the team with 11 kills. She led her team with two aces, three blocks and 17-for-17 serving.

WELLMAN — Fresh off a four-set loss to league foe Durant-Bennett, Mid-Prairie put together two strong games again but fell short 3-1 against Tipton, Thursday.
“We may not be winning but we are going to four games instead of three now,” said junior Taylor Kurtz. “We are building and getting better. With more practice we know that we will be able to win these close games.”
Mid-Prairie took the second game 27-25 as it held onto an 18-12 lead. The 17th and 18th point were two hard-earned back-and-forth points.
Down the stretch the game was tied at 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 before Mid-Prairie scored the last two points for the win. Junior Ashley Miller hit the game-winning kill. Miller finished with team-highs of 12 kills and 19 digs.
The closing game came down to two points, too. After Mid-Prairie took a 9-7 lead, Tipton rallied off seven straight points. Senior Jill Kofron finished the run with two aces — she had a game-high four — for a 14-9 advantage.
The Hawks scored the next four points. Trailing 22-18, Mid-Prairie mounted a comeback in an effort to push it to five games. Three consecutive points brought Tipton’s lead to 22-21, but Mid-Prairie would get no closer. Kofron scored the match point in a 25-23 win.
“We keep losing by two points and keep trying to get in their mind that they can get over this,” said Mid-Prairie head coach Cindy Miller. “They can win. A lot of things are silly things. You are in the moment; your adrenaline is going. Over time we are going to be able to get over this.”
Kurtz is pleased her team is remaining competitive and improving
“I think we played really well as a team,” Kurtz said. “We are progressing really well. I’m really proud that we came together instead of falling apart.”
The other two games were decided by a score of 25-15.   After a 7-7 tie in game one, Tipton used an 8-1 run to build a lead that it would not relent. After the first set Mid-Prairie made tweaks to its approach.
“We had to adjust in the game,” C. Miller said. “I told them to give the line up. They are good hitters; they know how to adjust. The people on the line were getting more digs.”
Kurtz was second on the team with 11 kills. She had a team-best two aces, three blocks and a perfect serving night 17-17.
“As a front row we did good together,” Kurtz said. “Blocks and hits are always exciting. Sometimes you have to be smart with your hits as well.”
Senior Courtney Shalla led the team with 36 assists.
Senior Courtney Cayton had the second most digs and attack attempts on the team with 15 and 25, respectively.
“They are really good defensively,” Kurtz said. “I know they lead our conference in digs by about 100.
Tipton had 92 digs to Mid-Prairie’s 72.
The Golden Hawks drop to 4-10, 0-5 in conference play.
“Our conference is tough,” C. Miller said. “I had no idea it was going to be this tough. When you play tougher teams, you are only going to get better.”
Tipton is an established program and with time Miller hopes to build a similar program. Wins by the Mid-Prairie junior high and junior varsity team over Tipton were bright spots.
“This team had strong servers,” C. Miller said. “You could tell they worked together. They graduate teams. They have club teams with younger girls that fill in. They never really go down.”
Mid-Prairie was successful on 80 of its 83 serves for a 96.4 percent rate.
The Hawks came up with a respectable 10 blocks but they did have mistakes.
“That was great,” C. Miller said. “But we had 15 blocking errors, so that is where that hurts us.”

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