For Mason City, this year’s volleyball season was all about experience.
The majority of the team hadn’t played at the varsity level, so there was work to be done.
“I feel like we’ve gotten a lot more fundamentally sound,” head coach Nicole Hunter said. “We had no varsity experience coming into this season, so they’re starting to know what it’s like to dig a CIML attack and serve receive.”
The Mohawks (2-24) closed their regular season with a loss to Urbandale (19-10) 25-12, 25-11, 25-15.
The strongest performance came from the front row as sophomore outside hitter Grace Tobin swung 11 kills. Junior Kaitlyn Roberts had five kills and junior Megan Hollander had four.
In the first set, Hollander got things started with a kill to close a five-point run by the J-Hawks, 5-1. But the Mohawks were unable to keep the serve, falling further behind in a 10-3 deficit. Junior Adisyn Walker started working with the rhythm of the game, racking up four digs on the set to keep the Mohawks in contention. Mason City would force mistakes to take them to the double digits at 23-10, a two-kill effort by Tobin made it 25-12.
“She started for us as a freshman last year and I talked to her at the beginning of a season,” Hunter said. “She’s got big shoes to fill at a young, young age and the best thing about that is she pushes her teammates to step up and meet expectations she has of us being a successful team. All of the front row has pushed up to work to her level.”
Tobin continued to be aggressive at the net, even when her hits missed the lines. After her six kill performance in the first set, Tobin recorded two in the second, but Roberts added aggression with two solo blocks and two kills to keep the energy up. But the Mohawks had dug a hole too deep to come back, at a 22-10 deficit, Mason City only added one more point for a 25-11 score.
The third set was similar to the second. Attack errors haunted the Mohawks’ offense, but Walker shined on the back row with seven digs to add to her total of 11 on the night. Tobin added her final three kills, while Hollander and Roberts also got their reps with one each. After a 19-8 deficit, the Mohawks fought for seven more points while the J-Hawks entered the 20s, tallying a final effort 25-15.
“We need energy,” Hunter said. “When we are enthusiastic, even when we get excited about them missing a serve, we play totally different and I think that’s going to be a game-changer for us.”