CLINTON – With one final serve, the Prince of Peace Irish were able to take a breath.
After a Saturday of shaky play at the Tri-Rivers Conference Tournament at Calamus-Wheatland, the Irish came out and swept Marquette Catholic 3-0 and move on in the Class 1A Region 7 bracket.
“Saturday was a big downer,” head coach Stacie Kenneavy said. “I don’t know if we thought we didn’t need to play as hard on Saturday, but we definitely needed this to get our confidence back up.”
The Irish lost both their contests on Saturday morning. For them, the momentum to kick off the postseason was huge.
“The focus is at practice, we’re determined,” senior Braxton Morhardt said after the win. “We don’t want our season to be over. Especially as seniors, this is our last season and we know we have to step it up. I think the younger ones understand that.”
Prince of Peace swept Marquette 25-22, 25-18, 25-17.
Prince of Peace was actually trailing Marquette in the third set of the night. Kenneavy called a timeout and talked to her team.
“When we start to feel that pressure we stop talking,” Kenneavy said. “What we needed was a pass. Shannon [Kenneavy’s] mechanics were off when she was setting, and I knew if we could get one good pass we could get that set up and get a side out.”
They ended that set with a 11-4 run.
“We had moments where we struggled,” Lilly Isenhour said. Isenhour finished with a team-high 14 kills and 18 digs. “But we were able to overcome it instead of letting it get us down bad.”
Both other sets had moments where the Mohawks were within striking distance. In Set 1, the Irish were tied and then Lilly Smith put away a kill. Lilly Isenhour followed it up with a back row kill.
Another put away from Smith on a tight overpass and two aces off the serves of Sarah Moeller sent the Irish shooting ahead.
The Irish started off strong in Set 2, garnering a 9-3 lead early. The Mohawks pulled close, but never close enough.
Prince of Peace ended with huge numbers on defense, a lot of their digs coming off of tips and pushes from the Mohawk side of the net. Isenhour led the numbers with 18Nyah Thomas ended with 13 and Avery Dehner had another 10.
“Usually we struggle a little bit with the tips,” libero Braxton Morhardt said. “We covered our donut. Today we were on top of the tips and pushes, we really got on top of that today.”
Sarah Moeller also had double digit kills with ten and added two blocks to the stats. Lilly Smith had four and Nyah Thomas had three.
To make the win a little sweeter, senior Lilly Isenhour hit two major volleyball milestones in her last game at the Joe O’Donnell Sports Center. Isenhour surpassed 750 career kills and 750 career digs while playing her last home game.
“It’s so exciting,” Isenhour said. “I didn’t really know about it until the end of the game. It hasn’t really hit me yet.”
The Irish are now taking to the road for the remainder of the postseason. They’ll be traveling to Central City on Wednesday for the second round. Central City beat Midland in three sets Monday night.
The Irish lost to the Wildcats earlier this year.
“We want revenge for that,” Coach Kenneavy said. “We struggled with out block then and our block has come really far. I think we need to put that out of our heads and play our game.”
If Prince of Peace can manage Central City, they’ll play the regional semifinal a little closer to home. They’d be facing their opponent in Miles at Easton Valley.
“This is definitely going to give us some momentum,” Isenhour said. “That was one of our first home games ... we played really bad. I think we were nervous because some of the girls had never started a varsity game before. That’s hard.
“I think this win gives us a lot more confidence.”
RIVER HAWKS OVERCOME SLOW START, MOVE ON
MILES – After dropping the first set of the postseason, the Easton Valley volleyball team rallied to take down Maquoketa Valley in four sets Monday night in regional play.
The River Hawks host three postseason games, and started regionals out with a win.
The River Hawks will play Cedar Valley Christian at home on Wednesday. CVC beat Calamus-Wheatland 3-1 Monday night.
CAMANCHE ENDS SEASON TO NO. 1
DAVENPORT – No. 1 in Class 3A proved too much for the Camanche Storm, who fell in three straight on Monday night to end their 2021 season on the road at Davenport Assumption.
The Knights slammed down a victory on their home court over the Storm 25-9, 25-8, 25-9.
Gracie Sanderson finished with three kills and Jamie Robertson had two. Robertson also had a team-high four digs.
ANAMOSA – The Northeast volleyball team play four tight sets to prevail with a regional win on Monday night, downing Anamosa and staying alive in the Class 3A bracket.
The Rebels won 26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 25-15. Anamosa had swept the Rebels twice this season.
The Rebels will now face Davenport Assumption on the road on Wednesday night. The Knights are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, sweeping Camanche on Monday night.