Northeast improves to 6-3 with four-set victory over Iowa Lakes

September 6, 2018

Northeast Community College’s volleyball team earned a decisive four-set victory Wednesday night over Iowa Lakes Community College, but you would never know it from listening to Hawks coach Amanda Schultze.

“We didn’t show up; we got a win, but we just did not play how we can play,” Schultze said. “Offensively, my hitters were very early or overrunning the ball. We just weren’t staying disciplined.”

To be clear, the Hawks did win 25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-14 to improve to 6-3 on the season, but they frustrated Schultze particularly in the area of serving by sending balls long, wide or into the net 14 times.

“I don’t know if I’ve coached a game with that many missed serves,” Schultze lamented. “We just can’t give points away like that.”

The Hawks got out to a 6-1 lead in the first set as freshman Caitlin Orton recorded three kills, but the lead slowly eroded through a series of Iowa Lakes solo blocks and service aces.

The Lakers were able to cut the Northeast lead to one on four occasions, but with a chance to tie it at 21, Orton recorded another kill to change the momentum. The Hawks scored three of the next four points to take the first set 25-21.

Iowa Lakes looked to draw even in the second set and after a 5-0 run led 15-8.

That’s when Hannah Heppner took over. The 6-foot-1 freshman middle from Stanton recorded three of her match-high 17 kills to help cut the Laker lead to 18-17.

“Hannah Heppner did a nice job of showing up offensively,” Schultze said.

Setter Savannah Nelson then helped close out the set by executing serves the Lakers found difficult to handle. That was important because the Hawks had trouble on the block against the taller Lakers.

“We definitely kept them out of system a decent amount,” Schultze said. “When they were in system, they ran that very quick ball and in the middle.

“We could deal with it, but with that quick ball to the pin, it was a struggle for us to get our block on that ball.”

During a four-point run, Nelson contributed both with the serve and by assisting teammates Kalli Brester and Orton, who both made important kills.

The Hawks scored eight of the last nine points to win the set 25-20 and go up in the match 2-0.

It looked like a sweep was likely as the Hawks led the third 21-18. But two kills by Hanna Seil and a net violation tied the score. It was 22-all before three Northeast errors gave the set to the Lakers 25-22.

“We have a lot of young kids, and they’re still making some rookie errors,” Schultze said. “They’ll learn, but they know what I want, they know what has been taught to them during the preseason and we aren’t staying disciplined with that right now.”

The Hawks rebounded and cruised in the fourth. The beginning of the end came with Osmond freshman Caitlin Kumm serving and Northeast up 15-12.

Her serve caused an overpass that Heppner drilled into the floor. That was followed with a textbook double block with Heppner and Alliance freshman MaKayla Davidson. Northeast scored the last six points to close out the match.

Heppner’s 17 kills led the Hawk attack. Brester, a sophomore from Howells added 14. Shelby sophomore Delaney Belt recorded 18 digs and four assists, while Nelson, a sophomore from Wakefield, provided 43 assists.

Northeast won’t have time to work on correcting the errors. They were to play at North Platte Community College on Thursday night.

The Hawks and Knights met during the season’s opening weekend at the Southeast Community College tournament in Beatrice, with North Platte winning in five sets.

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