Young Royals endure season of adjustment in 2015

Story and photo by Joe Randleman
Young Royals endure season of adjustment in 2015

It was a year of transition for the Colo-Nesco volleyball team in 2015 as the Royals had to adjust to a complete makeover by replacing all their starters and head coach from a year ago.

Colo-Nesco only had a couple players with limited varsity experience entering the season. The youth combined with adjusting to a new a new system under rookie head coach Jessica Heidemann to create some growing pains during the season.

Colo-Nesco finished 5-17 overall and 1-6 in the Iowa Star Conference after going 13-13 overall in 2014.

“The biggest challenge we had throughout the season was figuring out what our best rotation was,” Heidemann said. “Our team struggled throughout the season playing as a team. Finding that perfect rotation that allows the girls to feel confident with themselves and their teammates was a huge challenge.”

The Royals started off 2-8. They picked up victories over Ankeny Christian Academy and Meskwaki at the South Tama Invitational at the South Tama Invitational on Aug. 29.

On Sept. 17 Colo-Nesco got its only Iowa Star Conference victory, snapping out of a losing streak with a four-set win over Waterloo Christian.

“They key point in the season for me was about halfway through, when we had come off five loss in a row and finally got a home victory we had been waiting for,” Heidemann said. “It was one of the best (matches) the girls played. They deserved that win.”

Colo-Nesco suffered losses to Meskwaki, Don Bosco and GMG and then went 1-2 at the Madrid Invitational on Oct. 3. The Royals’ victory at Madrid was a sweep over Colfax-Mingo.

The regular season ended with Colo-Nesco losing at North Tama and Ogden and at home to South Hardin. But the Royals came up big in the opening round of the postseason.

Class 1A regional play began with Colo-Nesco facing Meskwaki. The Royals bounced back from a poor opening set to take the rubber match between the two teams in five sets.

In the 1A quarterfinals Colo-Nesco saw its season come to a close with a loss to North Tama.

“The season had many ups and downs, but the main thing I am proud of is the tremendous growth these girls have shown,” Heidemann said. “My girls worked very hard to redeem themselves throughout the season, and to see them fight until the end in districts was such a rewarding and exciting thing to see as their coach.”

For the season, Colo-Nesco had 193 kills against 227 errors in 719 attacks. The Royals served at an .843-percent clip with 136 aces in 1,023 serves and they totaled 5.83 digs and 1.58 blocks per set.

Junior outside hitter Kassie Robinson and sophomore setter Chelsea Henze led Colo-Nesco as all-ISC selections. Robinson made the all-ISC South Division second team and Henze was named all-conference honorable mention.

Robinson had 53 kills, 61 digs and 11 blocks in 66 sets. She also went 140 of 169 serving with 30 aces.

Henze handed out 161 assists - an average of 2.44 per set. She also produced 32 digs and nine blocks and went a team-best 215 of 243 serving (.885 percent) with 43 aces.

Sophomore Mackenna Ruffcorn, seniors Hannah Reischauer and Jillian Gibbons and sophomore Molly Barten were the other top players at the net for Colo-Nesco.

Ruffcorn produced 47 kills, 52 digs and four blocks. She also went 147 of 176 serving with 27 aces.

Reischauer came through with 33 kills and 36 blocks and she was 110 of 133 serving with six aces. Gibbons added 26 kills and four blocks and she went 88 of 110 serving with 12 aces.

Barten delivered a team-high 38 blocks. She also recorded 24 kills.

Senior Terri Perisho led Colo-Nesco in digs with 94 and she was 102 of 109 serving with eight aces. Freshman Emma Sarver picked up 72 digs and went 14 of 17 serving with one ace and junior Jazmine Voelker contributed 50 digs.

Junior Hallie Riese went 26 of 40 serving with six aces and also had four kills and two blocks. Sophomore Rylie Reischauer was 10 of 13 serving with one ace and senior Savannah Deupree was a perfect 9 of 9 serving with two aces.

The good news for Colo-Nesco is they only lose four seniors in Hannah Reischauer, Gibbons, Perisho and Deupree. That leaves a strong nucleus coming back to build around.

“I see next year as a year of continued growth and further success,” Heidemann said. “This group was a very young group, so with that being said I am very hopeful for the years to come.”