By Jon Gremmels

Herald Sports Editor

CLINTON — Camanche found a soft spot in the Prince of Peace defense and exploited it.

The Indians, who rose one spot to No. 8 in the Iowa Class 2A volleyball rankings that were released Thursday, attacked between the rows and defeated Prince of Peace 25-9, 25-7, 25-13 in Big East Conference high school volleyball Thursday night at Central Catholic Auditorium.

“They struggled passing our serve,” Camanche coach Mark Cremer said.

“We just couldn’t find a groove with their topspin serves,” Prince of Peace coach Shanon Nelson said. “We couldn’t find a rhythm tonight.”

Ashley Gonzalez certainly got in the flow for Camanche (14-3, 3-0 Big East). She tied for a team high with eight kills and delivered 11 of the Indians’ 25 ace serves that accounted for one-third of their points.

“I found a good spot and kept going with it,” Gonzalez said, referring to her consistent serving at the feet of the Irish’s back-row players. That’s more of my natural spot to go to.”

Before she began hurting Prince of Peace with her serves, though, she did it at the net by finding a similar soft spot between the rows. Using tips and pushes, Gonzalez had kills that scored four of Camanche’s first nine points. Her first, off one of Tiana Bark’s 23 assists, gave the Indians the lead for good at 4-3 as they erased an early 3-1 deficit.

“Tiana and I connect really well,” Gonzalez, a junior middle hitter, said. “We base it off the set and block to see where to go. I think I’ve improved that part a lot from last year.”

Cremer credits a volleyball camp in Minnesota for much of the improvement.

“The way Ashley is playing the middle is a good reflection of what she learned at the Minnesota camp,” he said. “She learned to be effective with the push.”

Gonzalez’s fourth kill put Camanche ahead 9-7, then she went to the service line and put the game out of reach. She served 11 consecutive points, including six aces. She had four in a row at one point as she had the Irish back row lunging for low serves.

Prince of Peace’s problems continued in Game 2. Gonzalez served five consecutive points to pull away from a 1-1 tie, with Ashtyn Dixon recording a pair of kills from the left side to break the tie. Dixon finished with five of her seven kills in Game 2, while Chelsea Moore had four of her eight in the game.

Camanche raced to a 10-1 lead in Game 3, getting three aces from Dixon and one from Bark.

The highlight of Game 3 — and perhaps the night — for Prince of Peace was getting four consecutive aces from Carie Kuehn that helped trim the deficit to 20-13 before Camanche finished off the win.

Despite the lopsided scores, the Irish (6-6, 2-1) earned praise from Cremer.

“To be honest, I think the score was pretty misleading,” he said. “A lot of points were extended. These guys reacted probably the best of any team has of reacting to our offense. I saw them dig a lot of balls up. They forced us to do things other teams haven’t been able to do.”

Nelson, who has been impressed with her team’s improvement this season, said her squad would bounce back.

“This is not going to stop us from our next game,” she said. “I told them to let this one go and be ready to improve tomorrow. They won’t fold. They know what we’re capable of. We just didn’t show it tonight.”

CAMANCHE 25-25-25,

PRINCE OF PEACE 9-7-13

Statistical leaders

Kills — Camanche (Ashley Gonzalez 8, Chelsea Moore 8, Ashtyn Dixon 7, Haley Pulse 5, Tiana Bark 3, Samantha Drury 1); Prince of Peace (Megan Lehmkuhl 1, Emily Ugarph 1). Assists — Camanche (Bark 23, Moore 3, Pulse 2); Prince of Peace (Ari Aquilani 1, Brittany Horst 1). Digs — Camanche (Dixon 14, Bark 4, Drury 4, Moore 3); Prince of Peace (Carie Kuehn 9, Lehmkuhl 7, Brittany Williams 7, Horst 5). Blocks — Camanche (Pulse 1, Drury 1); Prince of Peace (Kuehn 1). Serving — Camanche (Gonzalez 11 aces, Dixon 7 aces, Pulse 4 aces, Bark 2 aces, Courtney Harksen 1 ace); Camanche (Kuehn 8-for-10, 5 aces; Horst 3-4, 1 ace).

Records — Camanche 14-3, 3-0 Big East; Prince of Peace 6-6, 2-1.

Freshmen-sophomores

Camanche 17-21-15, Prince of Peace 21-12-12

Prince of Peace statistical leaders

Kills — Maggie Schnier 7, Aaliyah Chapman 4, Julia Isenhour 2. Assists — Megan Mulholland 14. Digs — Brittany Williams 10, Chapman 6. Blocks — Schnier 1. Serving — Chapman 8-10, 3 aces; Isenhour 9-10, 2 aces; Emily Gardner 7-8, 2 aces.

Junior varsity

Camanche 21-21, Prince of Peace 14-16

Prince of Peace statistical leaders

Kills — Schnier 4. Assists — Mulholland 4. Digs — Haley Chapman 6, Kiana Johnson 6, Allyson Naeve 5. Blocks — Schnier 1. Serving — Johnson 8-10, 5 aces; Mulholland 5-5, 2 aces.



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