Coming off of a tournament victory on Saturday, the South Tama varsity volleyball squad made quick work of Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Tuesday night.
The Trojans disposed of the Rebels in straight sets (25-13, 25-16, 25-22) to win its North Iowa Cedar League West opener. They improved to 6-2 on the season with the victory.
"It really shows how hard we've worked," junior Emily Martin said. "It's also a sign how we're able to start well and finish well, too."
Trisha Walz, South Tama junior, tips the ball over the net during the third set of Tuesday’s home contest. South Tama swept Gladbrook-Reinbeck by winning all three sets — 25-13, 25-16 and 25-22.
Despite the victory coming in three sets, STC coach Michelle Bradley wasn't inspired by her team's performance Tuesday.
"Like I keep saying, they've got more," Bradley said. "They've just got more. I don't know if it was the heat tonight, but I just feel we didn't our best. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy for the win. But I just feel that we have more and we need to learn how to not prolong things, but instead finish it in a quickly manner."
South Tama jumped on the Trojans early in the first set. STC took a quick 3-0 lead, which increased to 8-1 after junior Trisha Walz served four points, including one ace. The Trojans maintained a similar lead for most of the set until they scored the final three points and ended it 25-13.
The second set was much closer. The two squads battled back and forth as neither team could get a rally going. The score was 10-10 before Martin served four aces, helping the Trojans pull away. The Rebels never got closer than three points after that point as STC went on to win 25-16.
"We were just kind of out there and content to play," Bradley said. "We weren't doing anything fancy, just the fundamentals."
Despite the 2-0 deficit, the Rebels had fight left in them. They started the third set with a 2-0 lead, but after STC tied it 4-4, they rattled off five-straight points. However, the Trojans weren't going to let this match go into a fourth set.
Senior Jade Rohach served two aces as the Trojans played scrappy and tied the game 9-9. Then both teams seemingly scored two points at a a time until the Rebels took a 20-15 advantage.
Facing a defeat that would extend the match, South Tama focused its attack. The Trojans scored eight consecutive points, behind two aces from junior Madison Baack and two Rohach kills. Gladbrook-Reinbeck scored two before serving into the net, giving STC match point. Rohach finished the match with an ace.
"We started serving better and playing tougher," Martin said. "We also played smart and we tried to attack each chance we got."
Rohach led the Trojans with six kills. Walz recorded five kills, while junior Samantha Holtz had three and junior Paige Van Dyk totaled four kills. Walz led the squad with 13 digs on the night. Rohach had 11 digs, while senior Shelby Bradley and Holtz had eight each. Rohach and Holtz had three and two blocks, respectively.
Bradley was happy her team won, but she knows it must continue to play hard, especially after winning the first set or two.
"If there's a magic eight ball out there or something that can tell me how to fix that, I would love to read it," she said of her team's ability to seemingly play complacent after winning a set.
A few things caught the coach's eye Tuesday and she knows her team is playing well, but has room to improve.
"Coverage," Bradley said. "We're not reading well and we need to read earlier. We need to read hits early. This team tonight isn't a great hitting team, but they could roll the ball well off their hands and we're not reading the hands early enough. Our back row isn't reacting fast enough and we need to work on that.
"We don't let up and that's what I keep telling them," she said. "In practice, we play aggressively and I want them to do it here, too. I won't yell or get mad if I know they're playing aggressively."
On Saturday, the Trojans participated in the six-team Comet Round Robin. The Trojans captured the team title on the strength of its match record, breaking away from a three-way tie atop the tournament standings.
South Tama, Aplington-Parkersburg and North Polk all tied with 4-1 match records, but the Trojans (5-2) went 9-2 in games. North Polk (9-3) was 8-3 while Aplington-Parkersburg (10-1) went 8-4 after suffering its first loss of the season to North Polk.
"We came out with some big wins," Bradley said. "I know we have more still, but we played the best that I've seen us play so far this season. We still have some moments, but we played very well Saturday. We still have unforced errors. We're going to have a few, but I want a few, not a bunch."
The STC players enjoyed the tournament victory, too.
"I thought we played aggressively Saturday," Martin said. "We attacked a lot. It went well and we got medals."
South Tama beat Hudson (21-12, 21-19), Benton (21-14, 21-5), North Polk (21-18, 21-14) and BCLUW (21-16, 21-19), but lost to A-P (22-24, 21-14, 16-14).
"We quit playing aggressively," Bradley said of the Aplington-Parkersburg match. "We did not play our aggressive game. We got down and started playing really timid. We were tipping too much and not being aggressively."
The Trojans host South Hardin on Tuesday. The varsity contest will begin around 7:20 p.m., after the freshman and junior varsity contests are completed.