WOODWARD — Fort Dodge avenged a pool-play loss to slip past host Woodward-Granger, 2-1, in the title game of Saturday’s Norm McCune Invitational. W-G was 4-1 in the tourney to finish their regular season with 30 wins against seven losses — none of which were against schools their size (2A) or smaller.
W-G scored wins of 21-17 and 21-12 over Colfax-Mingo, of 21-9 and 21-19 against East Union and of 21-13 and 21-18 in their first match with Fort Dodge. A tough 25-20, 26-24 win over a determined South Hardin team sent the Hawks to the title round, where they opened with a 25-23 win over the Dodgers. Fort Dodge was a 25-22 winner in the second set, then claimed the invite crown with a 15-13 win in the third set.
The hosts played all but the first match without senior Bree Lesch, who turned an ankle. That gave opportunities for several Hawk reserves to play, and all did well, particularly Marissa Pasker, who was sharp in the title match. She finished the invite with 19 digs, an assists and two aces on 15-of-17 serving. Ashlyn Soelberg was 12-13-2 with nine digs, Anna Tague had 10 kills, an assist, a dig and two blocks while missing her lone serve. Alissa Smeltzer had one kill and missed her only serve attempt while Emily Drake had two digs, an assist and was 2-of-2 to account for the girls not in the normal rotation.
Olivia McCune led the team with 43 kills, with Mary Hansen adding 37 and Alyssa Bice 16. Ashley Gales had five kills, Julie Pitman four and Lesch two. Bice had 56 assists and Gales 50, with McCune (3), Riley Kirton (2) and Gales, Kaycee Major and Kara Bodensteiner one apiece.
Bodensteiner had 32 digs, Hansen 27 and Bice 25, with Major adding 11 digs and McCune seven. Lesch had six digs, Kirton two and Pitman one. Gales and Pitman had eight blocks apiece, McCune five and Bice and Hansen three apiece.
The Hawks had 20 total ace serves Saturday, lifting their season total to 246, second-best in Class 2A.
Bice was 43-45-4, Bodensteiner 41-43-4 and Kirton 31-33-2, with McCune 26-28-2, Hansen 18-21-4 and Lesch 5-of-5.
W-G will host Colfax-Mingo Monday at 7 p.m. in a Class 2A Region 4 Quarterfinal. The winner meets the victor of Ogden and W-G nemesis Grundy Center, in Woodward, Thursday at 7 p.m.
The top half of the bracket features No. 5 Tri-Center (30-1) against Van Meter while DMC faces Madrid. The Region 4 Final will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at West Des Moines Valley.