W-G volleyball finishes regular season 28-8 after winning Norm McCune Invite

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Olivia McCune attacks the South Hardin defense Saturday during the annual W-G Norm McCune Invitational. Named for her late father, the Hawk junior helped her squad win the invite for the third consecutive year to end their regular season 28-8.


WOODWARD — No team relishes seeing a visiting squad walk off with the trophy from their own tournament. When the daughter of the invitational’s namesake is a member of the home team, the motivation is even greater.

Such has been the case each of the last three years at the Norm McCune Invite in Woodward. Named after the father of standout W-G athletes Sydney and Andrew, youngest daughter Olivia is now a junior on the Hawk volleyball squad. With mom Jody and sister Sydney watching, Olivia helped insure the McCune Invite trophy would remain in W-G’s display case for the third consecutive year.

McCune finished with a team-best 49 combined kills, added 12 blocks and 15 digs and served 29-of-31 with five aces as the Hawks ended their regular season 28-8 with five wins Saturday.

W-G's Bree Lesch swings against South Hardin Saturday at the Norm McCune Invitational.
W-G’s Bree Lesch swings against South Hardin Saturday at the Norm McCune Invitational.

W-G defeated Iowa Christian Academy, 21-8 and 21-9, Colfax-Mingo 21-18 and 21-6 and Class 1A No. 7 Grandview Christian, 21-14 and 21-18 in pool play.

Unheralded South Hardin stunned the hosts with  a 25-21 win in the first game of their semifinal match, but the win did little other than to fire up the hosts. W-G stormed to a 25-6 win in the second game, then simply stood by as junior libero player Kara Bodensteiner served 15 consecutive points — including 10 aces — as the Hawks romped to a 15-0 victory.

Bodensteiner’s 10 aces were one shy of the W-G school record for aces in a match, which was set by Jaimie Myers in a five-set match in 2009. Although aces in a single game are not kept as an official record, there is no doubt Bodensteiner’s effort would be the new standard.

Grandview Christian had topped Fort Dodge had rallied from a first game loss to top Fort Dodge, 2-1, in their semifinal, setting up a title game rematch between the Thunder and the Hawks.

W-G ripped off a 25-9 win in game one, but GVC would not go quietly and rallied for a 25-20 game two win, setting the stage for a winner-take-all third game, in which the hosts narrowly prevailed, 15-13.

W-G's Anna Nelson (8) and Olivia McCune (18) defend against a South Hardin attack.
W-G’s Anna Nelson (8) and Olivia McCune (18) defend against a South Hardin attack.

Two school records were set in the invite by Hawk players. McCune, a junior, set a new standard for blocks in a season with 63, topping the old mark of 62 shared by Maddie Bardole (2010) and Alison Neal (2006). McCune had 142 career blocks, 15 shy of the record set by Neal (2004-2006).

Juniors Bree Lesch and Mary Hansen are in a running duel for career ace serves. The old mark of 202, set by Teresa Anderson (1988-1989) was topped by Lesch, who has 204; Hansen is five behind at 199. Anderson’s 111 season mark, set in 1989, is safe.

Hansen has 71 aces this year and Lesch 70. Those totals are second and third best, respectively, in Class 2A and are ninth and 10th best among all classes.

Lesch had 30 combined kills and 57 digs in the invite while serving 57-61-10, with Hansen adding 19 kills, 61 assists and 24 digs while finishing 22-25-8 behind the line.

Bodensteiner had 47 digs and was 58-64-13 serving, with Kaycee Major making 25 digs while serving 21-of-21, with Riley Kirton 32-38-9 with three assists.

Riley Kirton serves for W-G against South Hardin.
Riley Kirton serves for W-G against South Hardin.

Anna Nelson had nine kills, eight blocks, eight assists and six digs, with Julie Pitmantallying 12 kills, two blocks and three digs. Alyssa Bice distributed 42 assists while making 10 digs and a block, with Alissa Smeltzer recording six kills, eight digs and an assist.

W-G is off until Oct. 27, when they will host the winner of tonight’s Madrid vs. Ogden tussle in Class 2A Region 5 action. A win would send the Hawks to Marshalltown’s famed RoundHouse Oct. 30, with seventh-ranked Grundy Center the likely opponent.

The Region 5 Final is set for Nov. 4 in Parkersburg, with sixth-rated Dike-New Hartford, the defending state champion, the only ranked team in the top half of the bracket.

W-G's Alissa Smeltzer is a split second late in trying to block a tip from a South Hardin player. Hawk teammates Mary Hansen (6) and Bree Lesch (rear) follow the action.
W-G’s Alissa Smeltzer is a split second late in trying to block a tip from a South Hardin player. Hawk teammates Mary Hansen (6) and Bree Lesch (rear) follow the action.

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