DAVENPORT – In her assessment of what hampered the Camanche volleyball team on Wednesday night, senior outside hitter Tarah Wehde quickly found a diagnosis.
The start was the issue.
Unable to establish any consistency at the start of each set, the Indians were constantly playing from behind. The shaky starts ultimately sealed Camanche’s fate in its 25-18, 25-17, 25-18 Class 3A Region 6 quarterfinal loss to top-ranked Davenport Assumption.
“We needed to come out stronger if we were going to beat a team like that,” Wehde said. “We started out flat a little bit. That’s what got us.”
What added to the frustration is how the Indians (15-19) finished each set.
Camanche, facing set point, scored five of the last six points in the opener. A two-point rally in the second set got them within 24-17. A four-point spurt in the finale sliced the deficit to 22-14 before the Knights countered.
Out of the last 17 points across the three sets, the Indians scored 12 of them.
“Coaching these girls throughout the season and watching them play in certain matches, they are a very competitive team, a very good team, a very talented team,” Camanche coach Heather Clark said. “We are trying to get that out of them every single game we play. Unfortunately, it was hit and miss during (Wednesday’s match).”
The deficits proved too large to overcome.
Assumption (30-5) sprinted to comfortable leads in each set, relying on consistent play at the net and on defense. Before the Indians’ closing rally in each set, the Knights built leads of 24-13, 24-15 and 22-10.
At no point in those starting sequences did Camanche have a rally exceed four points. Balance and minimizing errors helped Assumption establish control.
“It’s probably not our best game, but it was nice to get through this and help us show what we need to work on,” said Assumption coach Bre Scherler, who received 13 kills from senior hitter Kylie Welch and 14 digs from freshman A.J. Schubert. “I’m proud of our girls. Even through the downs, they persevered and brought their heads back up and got over mistakes quickly.”
So did Camanche, evident by the closing rallies in each set.
“A lot of the times, we made silly mistakes and we let them go on a run,” Clark said. “Then, we would get a point. Then, they would go on another run. At the end of the game, we rallied back. I’m so proud of the girls because they could’ve said, ‘Well, I’m done.’
“We didn’t. We fought until the end.”
The end is when Camanche elevated its play, putting the Knights in an uncomfortable position.
“Those are things we absolutely have to tighten up,” Scherler said. “It’s a little frustrating to see that. They’re going to take those lessons that it’s important to start a game and finish a game.”
The starts are what put the Knights in control.
“When they get on those runs, it kind of makes me nervous because our rotation is a little shaky sometimes,” Wehde said. “It gets us on edge. That’s when we make those mistakes.”
Camanche, which received 13 digs and seven kills from Wehde, nine assists from junior setter Isabella Sager and eight kills from sophomore hitter Lauren Snyder, had moments where their play was elevated. In the end, the slow starts overshadowed the strong finishes.
“Assumption did some great stuff,” Clark said. “They earned some of their points and we gave them some of their points. We made some silly mistakes that you can’t make at the end of the season.”