SIOUX CITY | The beat goes on for Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s volleyball team.
A hard-hitting beat, that is. Kylee Christensen slammed 11 kills while Madison Harms and Kenzie Foley each added nine kills as the Class 4A ninth-ranked Warriors began a sweep of two Missouri River Activities Conference opponents with a 25-15, 25-21, 25-17 win over an energetic North squad Thursday night.
Coach Renee Winkel’s squad improved their season record to 11-0 following a 25-8, 25-13, 25-5 win over West. Christensen and Harms each posted eight kills for a squad that enters Saturday’s Waukee Invitational with a 25-1 record in games.
“When we come out, our goal is to come out and make a statement,” said Winkel. “Obviously, we have the power hitters, obviously we have the height. We have good-enough hitters that, I want them to swing. We can do it. That’s really our strength and we try to play to it as well as we can.
“We’ve been working on shots. I like us to have a full tool box of options so we can come out and swing hard, yet be able to come back and tip the ball over the block or shoot it to the donut or keep that full arsenal that keeps other teams on their feet.”
Strong as Sergeant Bluff-Luton looked as the match progressed, North came out the aggressor.
Coach Malina Ard’s Stars entered the match on their home court against the Warriors with a 9-2 record. Hailey Hoogers scored North’s first two points, the second coming on an ace serve.
Two straight Harms blocks tied the game 2-2, but consecutive blocks from Grace McLoud (8 kills, 2 blocks) and Jordan Hill snapped the tie. Kaitlyn Mulder (5 kills) then followed with two straight kills for a squad that jumped out to a 9-3 lead when Winkel called a time out.
“I feel like no one knows our real strength yet,” said North’s Kylee Eickholt (6 kills), a second-team MRAC selection a year ago. “We’re coming out and showing everyone what we can do. No one is quite ready for us and we showed that.”
“We talked about what we needed to do, we needed to pass the ball well and we needed to serve tough to keep them out of system,” said Ard. “Then, we needed to hit the ball at them. I told them it’s our time to get on the court and show people what we are capable of. We definitely did that.”
Northwest Missouri State volleyball commit Christensen turned in a block that tied the game 10-10. Foley’s five-point serving run enabled Sergeant Bluff-Luton to stretch a narrow 13-11 lead en route to the 10-point Game 1 win. However, there were 11 ties and five lead changes in the second set.
Mulder gave North its last lead at 13-12 on Mulder’s kill from the left side of the net. Foley’s kill for a 15-14 advantage gave the Warriors for keeps, while Christenen’s three straight kills provided an early 8-3 Game 3 advantage.
Lexi Sneller provided 28 assists and 15 digs for the Warriors in the sweep over North. Foley and Abby Minten each contributed 14 digs.
“North came out with fire, I’ll give them credit there,” said Winkel. “It was their home court, their home game, they played there all the time. They’re used to the heat. Heat’s no excuse, but it may have been a factor for us starting out until we realized we have to go. The longer North hangs around the better they get.”
Setters Hoogers and Maeve Coughlin had 14 and nine assists, respectively, for North in the loss to the Warriors. Eickholt had nine digs while Jordan Hill had two blocks.
Sneller had 14 assists in Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s sweep over West while Minten had 11 digs. The Wolverines received two kills each from Haleigh Smith and Sydney Edwards while setter Jada DeRocher had five assists.
North improved its season record to 10-3 after a 25-17, 25-21 win over West in a non-conference match. Mulder had seven kills while McLoud had five kills, one solo block and one assist block. Hoogers had nine assists and Mackenzie McClure had seven digs for a squad that will play Saturday at the Cherokee Invitational.