Clinton didn’t have the best morning Saturday at the Central DeWitt volleyball tournament. But the afternoon was an entirely different story.
The River Queens (4-1) dominated the elimination matches — they didn’t have a closer set than 25-15 — and won the tournament on their first day of play.
“We played three pretty solid matches with a great deal of focus,” Clinton coach Mark Massey said and called it a successful tournament for his team.
Clinton dispatched the host Sabers (3-2) 25-9, 25-15 in the final behind eight kills from Alyssa Wing.
The River Queens scored seven of the first eight points in the final and led 12-3 before cruising to the Game 1 win. Central DeWitt kept things closer in the second game. The Sabers came back a lot at the home tournament after losing the first game in their first round and semifinal matches.
Clinton jumped to an early lead (8-3) and Central DeWitt fought back to make it 14-10. Then Wing pounded a kill and Monique Harris took over serving.
Harris served back-to-back aces and the River Queens pushed the lead to 18-10. The Sabers got as close as 20-15 before Clinton shut the door, winning its first tournament in more than a year.
In the semifinals, Clinton faced Center Point-Urbana and was dominant. The River Queens jumped to leads of 11-3 and 22-7 before winning 25-10, 25-9.
“One of the things I thought before we played Center Point was, ‘Have we seen improvement throughout the day?’” Massey said. “We certainly did.”
In the semifinal win, Wing knocked down 15 kills with no errors. That followed a match with 16 against Camanche in the first round of bracket play. Massey said Wing’s 16 kills were a high for Clinton in a two-set match in the rally scoring era. She had 59 total in the tournament.
“Alyssa is a pretty dominant hitter at the high school level,” Massey said. “She’s pretty much the full package. She hits it hard; she hits it smart.”
The River Queens started well against Camanche. With Erin Wenzel serving, Clinton ran off the first nine points, including four Wing kills.
The Indians (1-3) weren’t going to hand the match to their bigger counterparts, however. An error got Camanche on the board, and the Indians went on a run of their own.
Kylie Vogel served an ace and had a push kill, Courtney Sowle put down a solo block and Camanche took advantage of some Clinton errors to cut the deficit to 10-8. A Marquel Schultheis kill stopped the Indians’ run and sent Harris to the service line.
Harris served six aces in a row and Wing slammed back-to-back kills to put Clinton ahead 19-8. The River Queens grabbed the first game 25-10.
Clinton took a 2-1 lead in Game 2 and held the advantage the rest of the way, winning 25-15.
“I think we were more focused in the afternoon,” Massey said. “We didn’t make silly little errors. When we play well, we’re a good team. I’m not going to deny it. We got going and fed off the energy. Good things happen when you do the little things in volleyball.”
Clinton beat North Cedar in the first match of pool play but lost to Maquoketa, ranked sixth in Class 4A.
“Maquoketa is a good team,” Massey said. “When we lost, the kids didn’t yell and scream and cry. We didn’t yell and scream at them. There’s a reason we got outscored. We wanted to try to fix it.”
Massey said he was pleased with the first day of the season and he hoped the team would perform Tuesday when Mississippi Athletic Conference play begins for the Queens with a match at North Scott.
“The thing I like about this team going forward is we don’t depend on one girl to do everything,” he said. “We’re bringing several weapons. It’s going to be great on a night they all click. But on about any night, you’ve got to think that some of them are.”
Central DeWitt, No. 10 in Class 4A, split its pool-play games, topping Camanche and losing 15-12 in the third game to Center Point-Urbana.
The Sabers also responded in afternoon play, but they came close to an early exit.
Central DeWitt lost Game 1 22-25 to North Cedar in the first round but won Game 2 25-17, forcing a decisive third game. North Cedar led 13-12, but Sabers senior Cori Peterzalek had back-to-back kills to give the Sabers match point.
The teams traded the next couple points to tie it at 15. A Central DeWitt hitting error gave North Cedar a match point at 16-15. Sam Barr drilled a kill to keep the Sabers alive and a lift by North Cedar gave Central DeWitt another match point, its third. This time, the Sabers took advantage with a block by Barr for an 18-16 win.
Maquoketa (2-1) was the semifinal opponent for Central DeWitt. The two teams face off Thursday in Maquoketa in WaMaC play.
The Sabers once again fell behind, losing the first game 25-14. The two rivals battled back and forth in Game 2.
With the score tied at 18, Maquoketa committed a serving error. Then Barr served an ace, Katlyn Irwin knocked down a kill and Noelle Feldpausch had a solo block to put the Sabers ahead 22-18. The teams traded points and then Maquoketa tried to make a comeback.
The Cardinals got three kills in a row, two from Allison Vandemore, to cut the deficit to 23-22. The Sabers got kills from Elizabeth Ladehoff and Delaney Brainerd to close out the game.
Game 3 was also tight. Central DeWitt led 9-8, and Feldpausch got a tip kill to extend the lead to two. Irwin started serving and hit back-to-back aces as the Sabers extended their lead to 14-9.
Maquoketa scored three points in a row, but then Peterzalek had a kill to give the Sabers a 15-12 Game 3 win and a berth in the finals against Clinton.
DEWITT VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
Championship — Clinton def. Central DeWitt 25-9, 25-15.
Semifinals — Clinton def. Center Point-Urbana 25-10, 25-9; Central DeWitt def. Maquoketa 14-25, 25-22, 15-12.
First round — Clinton def. Camanche 25-10, 25-15; Central DeWitt def. North Cedar 22-25, 25-17, 18-16.
Pool A — Central DeWitt def. Camanche 21-6, 21-9; Center Point-Urbana def. Central DeWitt 20-22, 21-16, 15-12; Center Point-Urbana def. Camanche 24-22, 21-15.
Pool B — Clinton def. North Cedar 21-13, 21-16; Maquoketa def. Clinton 21-16, 21-18; Maquoketa def. North Cedar 21-12, 21-9.
Individual statistical leaders
Kills — Alyssa Wing 59, Erin Wenzel 25, Marquel Schultheis 18. Assists — Monique Harris 94.
Kills — Julia Moore 8, Courtney Sowle 6, Sydney Grell 5, Libby Schnoor 5, Brettan Hilgendorf 5. Assists — Kylie Vogel 26. Ace serves — Vogel 3, Schnoor 3. Blocks — Sowle 4, Schnoor 4, Moore 4. Digs — Grell 12, Hilgendorf 12, Grams 9, Taylor Bialas 8.