Hawks dig themselves out of early hole to sweep visiting Bulldogs

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Woodward-Granger head coach Meg Jackson watches as Olivia McCune makes a dig against visiting Ogden Tuesday in their Class 2A Region 5 Quarterfinal.

WOODWARD — Unheralded Ogden gave a talented Woodward-Granger volleyball squad all they could handle — at least in the early going — before being swept Tuesday in a Class 2A Region 5 Quarterfinal.

Ogden (8-20) led by several points at many different stages of Tuesday’s first game and was ahead, 22-19, before W-G (29-8) rallied for a 25-23 victory. The win visibly deflated the Bulldogs, who suffered a 25-10 loss in game two. Ogden gave a spirited effort in the third game, only to have the Hawks prevail, 25-15, to complete the sweep.

A game one win would have placed W-G in an unusual spot, as the Hawks — who have not lost to school smaller than 3A this season — had dropped only one non-tourney set the entire season. In total games played, the Hawks are now 69-25 (.734) for the season.

“For some reason Ogden always plays very well against us,” Hawk head coach Meg Jackson said. “They play good defense, always have a very good libero player and typically have one or two servers that bother us.”

Woodward-Granger's Mary Hansen (left) and Julie Pitman elevate to try and block an Ogden attack Tuesday in their Class 2A Region 5 Quarterfinal.
Woodward-Granger’s Mary Hansen (left) and Julie Pitman elevate to try and block an Ogden attack Tuesday in their Class 2A Region 5 Quarterfinal.

A spirited Bulldog squad held leads of 6-3, 14-10 and 18-14 before the Hawks finally tied the opening set at 18-all. Ogden pulled into a 22-19 lead, but W-G tied scored twice to come within 22-21.

A Hawk mishit gave Ogden a 23-21 lead and the serve, but the guests returned the favor, with W-G taking the serve trailing, 23-22, when Jackson pulled a surprise move and inserted sophomore Marrissa Pasker into the lineup to serve.

Pasker had seen no varsity service time the entire season but came up big in the clutch, as W-G scored three consecutive points to claim the lead and significantly increase the already long odds of an Ogden upset.

“Marrissa really stepped up for us,” Jackson said. “She saw this as an opportunity and instead of going out there and being nervous in that situation she saw her chance to make an impression and did so.”

Riley Kirton serves during the second game Tuesday. Kirton was 18-of-18 with two aces behind the line in the match.
Riley Kirton serves during the second game Tuesday. Kirton was 18-of-18 with two aces behind the line in the match.

Long service stretches from Riley Kirton and Bree Lesch helped the hosts race to an 11-2 lead in the second game. Ogden managed to close the gap slightly, but W-G never relinquished control of the momentum and cruised to a 25-10 win. Olivia McCune ended the game with emphasis for W-G, serving four aces on the final five points of the set.

The teams went back-and-forth for the first half of the third game before the hosts slowly wore down their opponent, closing the match with a 25-10 victory.

“We just needed to get back to playing our game, and once we did everything was fine,” Jackson said. “We absolutely cannot come out slow and get behind Friday — we are going to have to be on ‘go’ the whole time.”

Jackson was referencing Friday’s match up in Marshalltown’s Roundhouse with No. 7 Grundy Center (29-8). The winner will advance to Tuesday’s Regional Final in Parkersburg, where the winner of sixth-rated and defending champion Dike-New Hartford (35-9) and Fort Dodge St. Edmond (6-23) awaits. All matches start at 7 p.m.

McCune led W-G with 18 kills, with Mary Hansen making 13 kills, Bree Lesch seven, Julie Pitman two and Anna Nelson and Alissa Smeltzer one apiece. Alyssa Bice had 18 assists and Hansen 14, with Hansen’s 13 kills coming on an error-free hitting night.

“That was huge for us,” Jackson said. “We moved Mary to the right side where I think she is more comfortable. To have 13 kills with no errors is fantastic.”

W-G libero player Kara Bodensteiner receives an Ogden serve in their postseason match in Woodward Tuesday.
W-G libero player Kara Bodensteiner receives an Ogden serve in their postseason match in Woodward Tuesday.

McCune blocked four shots at the net, Hansen two and Nelson, Smeltzer and Pitman once each. Kara Bodensteiner tallied 30 digs, Lesch 13, Hansen seven and Kaycee Major five.

Riley Kirton was 18-of-18 with two service aces, with McCune 11-13-5 and Lesch 11-13-1 while Bodensteiner finished 11-12-1, Major 8-9-1 and Hansen 4-of-5.

Ogden was led by Kami Wheelock’s six kills, with Maranda Wheelock making 12 digs and Hannah Carter six. Kami Wheelock had eight assists and served 9-10-2, with Charlie Klauenberg 8-8-2 behind the line.

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