Comets fall to 9-5 overall

ALLEMAN – The North Polk volleyball team saw several good things in its match with Nevada Sept. 12, but the Comet girls also saw there is still a gap between them and a Cub team ranked sixth in Class 3A.

Playing in their first match in the new North Polk High School gym, the Comets gave the Cubs all they could handle in the first and third sets. But North Polk was unable to get over the top each time to end up losing in three straight, falling to 9-5 on the season and starting off 0-1 in the Heart of Iowa Conference.

North Polk lost by scores of 25-22, 25-17 and 25-21.

In the first set the Comets jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and then the two teams went back and forth. Nevada took a 17-16 lead on a Jessica Helton ace and eventually stretched its advantage to four points before North Polk closed within a single point a 22-21.

But two kills from Megan Pringnitz and a Comet error helped Nevada go up 24-21; another North Polk mistake gave the Cubs the final point to close out the set.

The second set saw North Polk again start strong in taking a 6-2 lead. But this time Nevada regrouped quicker, going on a 14-4 run to take charge and the Comets never got closer than six the rest of the way.

Down two sets, it would’ve been easy for North Polk to roll over in the third set. Instead the Comets came out on fire, scoring the first eight points and building an early 10-1 lead.

But Nevada began to claw its way back, and behind great serving from Abby Stephenson, the Cubs closed within 12-11. Nevada eventually took the lead on a Kati Cassabaum block, and after an Emma Lodestein kill, the Cubs were up three at 22-19.

North Polk never got closer than two the rest of the way in coming up short. But Comet head coach Susan Nemmers said her players had nothing to be ashamed of in losing to a Cub team that moved to 3-0 in the HOIC in its quest to repeat as conference champions.

"We had a nice start in each set and the third set was the best, which is a good characteristic because usually you’ll see a team come out with their best in the first set," North Polk head coach Susan Nemmers said. "Even though I don’t like the loss, I’m proud of the girls for playing their best set at the end rather than rolling over for a team in the rankings."

North Polk had 46 digs and 14 blocks in the loss. The Comets also went 58 of 62 serving with four aces and had a kill-efficiency rate of .069 with 25 kills and 16 errors in 131 attacks.

Megan and Miranda Murphy had strong matches up front for North Polk. Megan had 13 kills, seven digs and two blocks and Miranda finished with eight kills and six blocks.

Gracie Harmeyer turned in a great match at setter. She dished out 18 assists and also had a big serving night, finishing 26 of 27 with all four Comet aces.

Hannah Becker and Jill Christensen tacked on two kills apiece. Becker also had two blocks and Christensen finished with 10 digs, two assists and one block.

Lilly Lomica led North Polk in digs with 12 and Courtney Bonewitz added 11.

Pringnitz had 12 kills, 15 digs and three blocks and Stephenson went 13 of 15 serving with an ace and contributed 13 digs and six kills to help Nevada improve to 6-2 overall. Michaela Matuska finished with 32 assists, seven digs and two blocks, Mara Rhodes totaled six kills and two blocks, Cassabaum chipped in four kills and blocks apiece and Lodestein ended up with five blocks and two kills for the Cubs.