Analysis of how the Nevada and Colo-NESCO volleyball teams fared last week

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Shelbi Hazlitt

The Nevada volleyball team picked up a win over Prairie City-Monroe (25-19, 25-10, 25-9) Sept. 9 in its home and Heart of Iowa Conference opener. The Cubs had a tough day at the Osage Invitational Saturday in Osage.

Nevada went 0-4 at Osage with losses to Forest City (winning 25-23 and losing 25-22 and 15-13), Charles City (winning 21-16 and losing 21-12 and 15-8), Cedar Falls (21-12, 21-19) and Dike-New Hartford (21-13, 21-14). That put them at 6-13 overall.

Colo-NESCO was swept by Dunkerton (25-9, 25-7, 25-20) and Colfax-Mingo (25-22, 25-5, 25-13) at home Sept. 7 and Sept. 9. The Royals fell to 3-7 on the season.

Here is what we learned from how the Cubs and Royals played last week:

Nevada must finish stronger

The Cubs dropped winnable matches to Forest City and Charles City Saturday despite winning the first set in each contest. The Cubs lost competitive battles in the second set and rally game against Forest City, but went flat down the stretch against Charles City. They must do a better job of capitalizing on strong starts if they hope to compete with elite competition.

Dike-New Hartford and Cedar Falls were elite competition

There was no shame in Nevada losing to the No. 1 team in Class 2A (DNH) and the No. 8 team in 5A. But the Cubs only got closer than seven points in one of the combined four sets against the two teams. They need to close the gap by the end of the season to put themselves in position to make a run at state.

The Cubs do much better with a strong block

Nevada put up 11 blocks in its two three-set losses to Forest City and Charles City Saturday. The Cubs had six against Cedar Falls, but struggled to slow Dike-New Hartford in finishing with just one against the Wolverines. The Cubs perform at a much higher level when their block is clicking. Shelbi Hazlitt had 14 blocks and Emma Strottman seven during the week. 

Dunham steps up at the net

Nevada head coach Jonny Sneiderman has moved his lineup around a lot in the early portion of the season. Maddie Dunham took on the role as a top hitter for the Cubs this week after spending most of her previous time in the back row. She responded by hammering down 22 kills over the five Nevada matches.

Maddie Dunham

Colo-NESCO needs to avoid big slumps

Colo-NESCO's Rylie Handsaker goes for a set during the Royals' match with Colfax-Mingo Sept. 9 at Colo.

The Royals had brutal stretches in both of their matches last week. They had a horrible start against Dunkerton, but finished with a solid outing in the third set. They played well in the opening set against Colfax-Mingo then went cold over the final two. More consistency is needed if Colo-NESCO expects to get back on the winning track.

Royals need role players to step up

Setter Izabell Voelker and middle blocker Jenna Hill have been playing great all season for Colo-NESCO. No stats were available for the Colfax-Mingo match, but Voelker had 11 assists and four digs against Dunkerton and Hill finished with six kills and four digs. Other Royals need to assert themselves more in order for the team to take the next step.