MIFFLIN — Iowa–Grant’s up and down volleyball season continued last week as the Panthers split a pair of Southwest Wisconsin Activities League matches.
I–G swept struggling Fennimore 25–22, 25–19, 25–17 Tuesday night but dropped a five-set match to visiting Southwestern two nights later 22–25, 25–15, 21–25, 25–20, 15–13.
“We had to work a little harder in the first set to hold off Fennimore, as it was a back and forth game,” said Iowa–Grant head coach Marla Simon.
Freshman Hazel Klosterman put the Panthers ahead with four straight service points to snap a 15–15 tie.
Outside hitters Olivia Liddicoat and Katie Olson stepped up in the final two sets to lead the Panther to victory.
Both had seven kills in the second set, and Liddicoat added eight and Olson five in the close out third set.
Liddicoat finished with 15 kills and 10 digs. Olson had 12 kills and seven digs. Junior setter Kendall Peterson passed out 37 assists in the victory.
“In the second and third sets, lots of credit goes to Olivia and Katie and Kendall did a good job feeding the hot hands.”
Thursday loss to Southwestern was a much different affair as both teams were much more evenly matched.
Iowa–Grant grabbed a 2–1 lead after taking the third set 25–21, but the visiting Wildcats won the final two sets to steal the victory.
Southwestern improved to 16–4 overall and remained in a second-place tied with Darlington in the SWAL at 8–2.
Meanwhile, Iowa–Grant fell to 15–9 overall and 6–4 in the SWAL.
“This was a great match with both teams having their highs and lows,” said Simon. “I was really happy with our kids effort and play, and I hope it builds them up about their potential and what they can do.
Simon’s biggest frustrating in the match was the 10 missed serves.
“That really was the difference in not winning the match. Our offense was running pretty well trying to stay away from their big block and Kendall did a nice job leading that. I felt Hero had a really good game, having a ton of touches with her serve receive and free ball passes, and usually they were pretty consistent.”
Klosterman finished with a team-high 25 digs. Liddicoat had 18 kills and 23 digs.
“It is nice to see Olivia be more comfortable in the front row we really need that,” added Simon. “Both teams were very scrappy all night and that made this match a barn burner.”
Iowa–Grant opens the WIAA Division 4 regional playoffs Tuesday at home as the five seed against 11th-seeded Ithaca. This is the Panthers first year in Division 4 after a decrease in enrollment.
With a win, they will advance to play either #4 Southwestern (16–4) or #13 Riverdale (3–19).
“It will be different being down a division and seeing a whole different set of teams,” said Simon.
Iowa–Grant 3, Fennimore 0
(from Tuesday, Oct . 3 @ Iowa–Grant)
Fennimore 22 19 17
Iowa–Grant 25 25 25
Iowa–Grant stat leaders
Kills: Olivia Liddicoat 15, Katie Olson 12, Annie Spurley 6, Shae McIntyre 6. Blocks: McIntyre 3, Spurley 2. Assists: Kendall Peterson 37. Aces: Hero Klosterman 2, Peterson 2. Digs: Hero Klosterman 16, Liddicoat 10, Olson 7.
Southwestern 3, Iowa–Grant 2
(from Thursday, Oct. 5 @ Iowa–Grant)
Southwestern 22 25 21 25 15
Iowa–Grant 25 15 25 20 13
Iowa–Grant stat leaders
Kills: Olivia Liddicoat 18, Katie Olson 10, Shea McIntyre 6. Blocks: McIntyre 3, Annie Spurley 3. Assists: Kendall Peterson 40. Aces: Liddicoat 2, Hazel Klosterman 2. Digs: Hero Klosterman 25, Liddicoat 23, Olson 13.