W-G rallies to turn back upset bid by Earlham

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W-G's Anna Tague swings for a kill against Norwalk at the ADM Invite Aug. 31.

EARLHAM — Tuesday’s West Central Activities Conference volleyball match between Woodward-Granger and host Earlham began in shocking fashion — the visiting Hawks dropped a set.

Just the fourth dropped set since the start of the 2014 season in WCAC play gave the Cardinals plenty of positive energy.

However, W-G appeared inspired by the 26-24 loss and immediately set about dispatching their hosts with scored of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-14 to improve to 9-4 overall and 2-0 in WCAC play. Earlham fell to 6-5 and 0-3 with the loss.

“That probably won’t be the last set we lose this year,” W-G head coach Meg Jackson said. “This team still has a lot of work to go to get to the level of play we expect of ourselves.”

“We need some confidence in our passing,” she added. “We are making too many errors and not seeing the ball clearly, and that is leading us to not getting the ball to the hitter where she can make a clean hit. Our setting has got to be more consistent.”

W-G libero Ashlyn Soelberg (17), and Kaycee Major (12) await a play as Alissa Smeltzer attacks the Perry defense of Mackenzie Ayers (12) and Sid Vancil (2) at the Aug. 31 ADM Invite.

Alyssa Bice, Ashley Gales and Alissa Smeltzer had eight kills apiece for W-G, with Julie Pitman making seven kills, Anna Tague four and Emma Drake two. Drake had 19 assists and Bice 11, with Pitman tallying four blocks, Gales three, Drake and Tague two each and Smeltzer one.

Bice had a team-high 11 digs and Kaycee Major 10 with Ashlyn Soelberg adding nine digs, Katelyn Bandstra six, tague five and Drake four.

Pitman was 20-of-21 with six aces behind the serve line, with Bice 16-19-5 and Tague 15-17-2. Smeltzer finished 13-15-2, Soelberg 12-13-2 and Drake 11-12-2.

W-G will travel Saturday to the North Scott Invitational, where the Hawks typically face 4A and 5A competition.

“That is exactly why we go there each year,” Jackson said. “It helps us sharpen up on some things and measure ourselves against some good teams. I don’t want to come across as pessimistic — we are doing a whole lot of things right — but as a coach I am always going to see things we can do better. I have no doubt we are going to be much better team in two weeks than we are now, and that is what you want to see each year — to be consistently improving as the season goes on.”

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