lilly-isenhour

Prince of Peace freshman Lilly Isenhour digs a serve Saturday at Central Catholic Auditorium.

CLINTON — The Prince of Peace volleyball team stumbled out of the gates Saturday afternoon but finished strong to continue an impressive campaign after a winless 2017 season.

Battling a stifling warm gym, the Irish turned in a 3-2 outing, clinching third place against the likes of Anamosa, Galena, Quad City Christian, Cedar Valley Christian and Central City to reach nine wins this season.

After suffering back-to-back defeats to open the tournament, the Irish recovered to down Quad City Christian in a tiebreaker third set, a match in which coach Stacie Kenneavy said the team won despite a pair of shortcomings.

“We missed six serves that was more than we missed in the first two matches and we really just had a breakdown in communication ... no one was talking to each other,” Kenneavy said.

Prince of Peace continued its momentum against Quad City Christian to tally a pair of decisive victories against Cedar Valley Christian by scores of 24-22, 21-14 and 24-22, 21-13 to clinch third place honors.

“The girls really stepped it up in the last two matches of the day,” Kenneavy said. “I am extremely proud.”

Prince of Peace opened the tournament with an abrupt two-set defeat to Class 3A Anamosa before falling to Galena in a tightly-contested match that went the distance.

“We made a lot of hitting errors [against Galena] but I wanted them to keep hitting ... I will take a hitting error over a free ball,” Kenneavy said.

Anabel Blount, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, shined throughout the tournament, leading the team with 36 kills and also recorded 46 digs. Kenneavy said she is crucial to the success of the young team that does not have a upperclassman on the roster.

“She is our strongest hitter but teams figure that out pretty fast so we are going to continue to try and mix it up so when she does get the ball, she has a better opportunity to kill the ball,” Kenneavy said.

Anamosa won the tournament.

Other notable performances included Lilly Isenhour (16 kills), Emma Kuehl (nine aces) Isabelle Hansen, who led the team with seven assists. Isenhour also turned in a perfect 25-for-25 serving performance on the day.

Prince of Peace (9-5) returns to action Thursday, where it will host Alburnett at Central Catholic Auditorium. The game will start after the junior varsity contest, which is slated to begin at 5:15 p.m.