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Another tough opponent came calling Oct. 5 as the Mid-Prairie volleyball team played host to Class 2A No. 12 Wilton.
On a night where a trio of seniors were recognized for their contributions to the program, the Golden Hawks fell in straight sets (25-12, 25-16, 25-9).
Behind the energy and enthusiasm that comes with the emotions of the night Mid-Prairie took a brief lead in the opening set by a 6-5 margin.
“I think it was the adrenaline, a lot of it, but (Wilton) made quite a few errors,” head coach Cindy Miller said.
“I think a lot of it was them just being so excited and looking forward to it.”
Fittingly, it was senior Maya Hall at the line, leading the four point run that gave Mid-Prairie their brief advantage. Hall also led the team in kills on the night, with six, something that fit Hall’s role as talisman for the course of the season.
“If Maya plays well, her team plays well,” Miller said. “So, she was excited knowing it was her last (home) game. A lot of it is her skills have come around. She didn’t have a full game last year, meaning she just played front row.”
Now, Miller says she can make plays, not only getting the kills, but picking up digs as well.
Mid-Prairie would not lead the rest of the night, with the exception of set three when they earned the first point of the set. Miller said what made Wilton so tough was their ability to get blocks in and said if Mid-Prairie hadn’t had as many unforced errors as they did, things might have turned out different.
As much as the night was a showcase for the team’s three seniors, some young blood also got some more play as they have as the season has gone along. Though it was a struggle for Tayler Murphy on the night, the experience is something that cannot be taken for granted and fellow freshman, Tori Boyse, energized the team with her contribution in the final set, collecting both a kill and a block.
“We’ve said from the beginning that we want to work on skills that are controllable, and right now, things like facing the net and going, and doing a down ball instead of a free ball, just those little skills that don’t seem like they’re that big of a deal but they are. And that’s what they’re starting to do.
Along with the game, Miller says she’s also seen her team gain that mental toughness that will be necessary to keep progressing as the program moves along.
In the end, the night was all about the three seniors: Maya Hall, the team’s leader in kills and aces, Alison Yoder, who leads the team in digs, and Anna Vilovchik, third in digs. Despite not being as successful record-wise as they would have liked for their senior campaign, Miller said it’s the little things that they have brought to the team that have left the biggest impact.
“This is they second group that has gone through with us.
“Just having that experience and having gone through everything and understanding what I want them to do, and they’ve just grown so much.”
Wilton: 25; 25; 25
Mid-Prairie: 12; 16; 9
Maya Hall 6
Caitlyn Riggan 9
Alison Yoder 18
Maya Hall 12
Anna Vilovchik 10
It was a rough go Oct. 7 as Mid-Prairie participated in the CCA Tourney. Losses at the tournament included ranked teams like Class 1A No. 10 Iowa Valley (21-9, 21-10) and Class 4A No. 9 North Scott (21-4, 21-9). Mid-Prairie also fell to Central Clinton (21-14, 24-22), hosts Clear Creek Amana (21-15, 21-9), and Union Community (21-5, 21-8).
“Once again facing some highly rated teams Saturday, we continually found ourselves on the defense and trying to keep up with the tempo of each match. Keeping up our mental toughness was difficult but I thought the team overcame and continued to play hard throughout the day despite the score. A big booster was our efforts digging opponents attacks,” head coach Cindy Miller said.
“Alison Yoder, Maya Hall, Anna Vilovchik and Abbi Patterson all came up big by helping the team earn 299 digs during the five matches. Those were not balls hit directly at them, many were deflected off blocks or diving saves that are very difficult to get to. I appreciated all their efforts and willingness to hit the floor.”
Libero Alison Yoder collected 107 digs, including 31 digs against North Scott. Yoder currently sits seventh in Class 3A in digs per set at 5.37.
Myah Lugar led the team in kill in the tournament.
“She and setter, Caitlyn Riggan, are starting to get into a rhythm which is great to see at this point in the season,” Miller said. “New to the lineup on the left side was hitter, Karsen Jehle who provided a couple timely kills in our best match of the day against Central DeWitt.”
Myah Lugar 12
Caitlyn Riggan 17
Alison Yoder 107
Maya Hall 76
Mid-Prairie fell to Class 2A No. 8 Tipton on the road Tuesday night in straight sets (25-11, 25-9, 25-9).
“Facing off against Tipton who is undefeated in conference play this season was daunting. They are probably the toughest team we have faced to date. We decided prior to the match that the scoreboard would not define us tonight,” head coach Cindy Miller said.
“The girls definitely rose to that challenge by playing together and extremely scrappy. All the mental toughness training we’ve been working on was evident as we played through each set. I was very proud of the way the team carried themselves throughout the match.”
Miller highlighted the team’s 93 percent serving efficiency and five players who were perfect from the line as positives from the game.
She also praised seniors Alison Yoder and Anna Vilovchik for combining for 25 of the team’s 40 digs on the night.
Mid-Prairie: 11; 9; 9
Tipton: 25; 25; 25
Maya Hall 4
Caitlyn Riggan 9
Alison Yoder 16