On a night filled with exciting volleyball, Charles City proved its worth.
The Comets came out on top in a triangular match at Mason City High School on Thursday night, beating both Mason City and Clear Lake by scores of two sets to one.
The team got off to a pair of slow starts in both matches, before staging consecutive comeback victories.
They dropped the first set of game one to Mason City, 25-20, but after that initial defeat, took control of the match. Charles City won the second set over the Mohawks, 25-15, and dominated in set three by scoring the final six points to win 15-4, and clinch a victory.
In the second game of the day, the Comets took on Clear Lake, and dropped the first set, 25-15. But again, the Comets recovered to win sets two and three, by respective scores of 25-13 and 15-7.
“It’s kind of what we’ve been doing here lately,” Charles City co-head coach Sue Hoefer said of the Comets’ slow starts to matches. “We don’t know why, it’s not our plan. They’re a good team and they can come back and win. We tell them that. Good teams can come back.”
Hoefer and former Osage coach Andie Olson took over the reins as co-head coaches of the program in mid-July, when former head coach Hailey Brown stepped away, before she had coached a single game.
For both Hoefer and Olson, being co-head coaches has worked out well so far. After Thursday’s pair of wins, the Comets are 5-1 on the season, and sit in second place in the Northeast Iowa Conference, behind Waverly-Shell Rock.
“They’re a very calm, for the most part, group of kids,” Olson said. “They get excited, but they get right back to even-toned. Just figuring out who is going to be the energy-givers at what times, they’ll figure that out as they play more volleyball matches together.”
The presence of two veteran coaches like Olson and Hoefer was a welcome development for the team's players. According to senior Sadie Gebel, the two do a good job of "calming each other down."
"Having two coaches is kind of fun," senior Sadie Gebel said. "They bounce ideas off of each other and you can talk to both of them."
Olson admits that wearing the Charles City orange and black is a strange feeling after so many years of donning the Osage green. With both she and Hoefer's daughters currently playing college volleyball, each of the coaches wanted the flexibility to be able to take a night off now and then to go watch them play.
"Never in a million years did I think I would be wearing orange," Olson said. "But I'm here to help kids. I love the game, and if I can share a little bit of that with more kids, then lets do it."
In the Comets' match against Mason City, junior Kaylee Anderson finished with a team-high nine kills. In the match against Clear Lake, Anderson had six kills, again a team-high.
In the third and final match of the triangular, Clear Lake swept the Mohawks, 2-0, clinching the victory with a 25-19 win in set two.
“I’m really happy,” Clear Lake head coach Heather Johnson said. “We had a really good practice last night, and I think we made a lot of what we worked on in practice translate to the court tonight. That is really what I want to see. We’re working for those slow, steady improvements and I think we got one percent better tonight.”
The win improved Clear Lake to 4-5 on the season, while Mason City’s record fell to 1-7.
"We played well in spurts but needed more consistency in all areas," Mason City head coach Curt Klaahsen said. "Shaye Theobald did an excellent job of setting for us when Bre went down with an injury, and we battled hard the entire night."
Emma Hollander led the Mohawks with eight kills, while Bre Lowe finished with a team-high 10 assists.
Clear Lake will play Tuesday against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, while Mason City will travel to Southeast Polk for a tournament on Saturday.
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Shane Lantz covers sports for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Shane.Lantz@GlobeGazette.com, or by phone at 641-421-0526. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneMLantz.