TRAER - For one set, Collins-Maxwell showed it could go toe-to-toe with the big girls when the Spartans took on No. 8 North Tama in the Class 1A regional quarterfinals Monday in Traer.
Collins-Maxwell rallied from a 16-7 deficit to pull even late in the first set. But North Tama scored the next two points to avoid the upset and the Spartans never recovered, dropping the next two sets by scores of 25-9 and 25-18 to see the first season in program history come to a close.
“I thought for sure after game one they’d come back,” Collins-Maxwell head volleyball coach Nicole Dentlinger said. “But we got in a slump game two and just couldn’t seem to fight back.”
North Tama raced out to its big early lead in the first set behind the strong play of Katie Kopriva and Karly Jans. But Hannah Caple came up with a great serving stretch — aided by several Redhawk errors — that led to an 8-0 run to get Collins-Maxwell right back in the thick of things.
A Kopriva kill ended the Spartan hot streak following a North Tama timeout, but only temporarily. A Josie Wierson ace and four Brianda Bane kills pulled Collins-Maxwell even at 21-21.
A Spartan error briefly gave North Tama the lead back, but another Bane kill tied the match at 22-22. The two teams then split the next four points, with a Wierson kill keeping the score tied at 24-24.
Isabel Sierra then came up with a tip kill to reclaim the lead for North Tama. Kopriva followed with a clutch kill from outside to secure a 26-24 Redhawk win.
“I think the girls have really come together the last couple weeks,” Dentlinger said. “They’ve been having a lot more fun playing and they seem to just be scrappier than normal. When they move to the ball and they talk to one another they do a lot better, and we started game one that way.”
The close loss took the wind out of Collins-Maxwell’s sails heading into set two. The Spartans got down 10-3 out of the gate and never got anything going.
“Game two they started in a slump and just couldn’t get themselves out,” Dentlinger said. “Emotions were high. We have a couple seniors leaving this year and so I think they really wanted to do well, but too many errors.”
In the third set Collins-Maxwell jumped out to a 6-2 lead, only to see North Tama answer with a 19-4 run to take control. But the Spartans didn’t roll over, scoring five of the next six points to get within 22-16 before running out of momentum.
Coming up short against a top-10 team and the champions of the Iowa Star Conference South Division didn’t take away from a great inaugural season for Collins-Maxwell.
“I’m extremely proud of what they did this season,” Dentlinger said. “We ended 18-8 — that’s a pretty decent start to our program.”
Bane finished with 18 kills, five digs and two blocks and Katie Camp tallied 24 assists, nine digs and one block in the final match of their careers as part of the first Spartan senior class. Wierson delivered six kills, five digs and two aces; Hannah Caple had 11 digs and Gracie Cheville put up six digs, four kills and one ace.
Jillian Holst chipped in five digs and one kill and Elise Roberts tacked on three assists and digs apiece for Collins-Maxwell.
Jans ended the match with 14 kills and Kopriva finished with 13 kills, six digs, three aces and two blocks for North Tama. Sierra finished with 34 assists and two aces, helping the Redhawks take a 27-7 record into the 1A semifinals Thursday versus No. 11 Montezuma.
SULLY - Collins-Maxwell opened Class 1A regional play in impressive fashion Oct. 17 as the Spartans traveled to Sully and swept Lynnville-Sully on its home floor.
Collins-Maxwell disposed of Lynnville-Sully by scores of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-13. The Spartans had a .284 kill-efficiency rate with 36 kills and only seven errors in 102 attacks, and they picked up nine blocks and eight aces.
Brianda Bane was amazing at middle hitter for Collins-Maxwell. Bane had 18 kills and only two attack errors and she also came up with six blocks, two digs and one ace.
Josie Wierson stepped up with 10 kills, five digs, two blocks and one ace at outside hitter for the Spartans. Gracie Cheville added 12 digs and five kills and she went an impressive 27 of 29 serving with five aces.
Katie Camp ended up with 26 assists, 11 digs and one ace at setter. Hannah Caple put up 12 digs; Jillian Holst 11 digs, two kills and one block and Elise Robertson four assists, one kill and one dig.