Nevada falls to Roland-Story in HOIC volleyball classic: Cubs drop showdown in five sets

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Nevada middle hitter Shelbi Hazlitt (right) and Roland Story's Reagan Faber battle to see who can get the ball over the net during the first set of the HOIC rivalry game between the Cubs and Norse Thursday in Nevada. Hazlitt had a huge match for Nevada, but Roland-Story won in five sets.

Nevada lost an instant classic to top rival Roland-Story in a Heart of Iowa Conference showdown Sept. 16 at the Nevada High School Field House.

Nevada nearly came back in the rally game, rebounding from a 13-8 deficit to take a 14-14-13 lead behind the inspired play of Shelbi Hazlitt. But Roland-Story scored the final three points, the last two coming on Reagan Barkema kills, to give the Norse a 16-14 victory and a big leg up on the HOIC championship race.

"Tonight may go down as a loss, but there's a lot of growth that happened," Nevada head coach Jonny Sneiderman said. "A lot was experienced by this group that need to remember what it was like to compete hard on the court. I'm really proud of their team effort."

Nevada won the opening set, 25-22. Roland-Story came back to win a back-and-forth marathon in the second set, 28-26, then took the third 25-20. With the pressure on, the Cubs responded with a decisive 25-18 victory in the fourth set to send the match into a rally game to determine the winner. 

Here is what we learned from Nevada's tough loss:

Nevada's Hazlitt, Weig have big nights 

Nevada senior middle blocker Shelbi Hazlitt went up against her former teammates Thursday.

Hazlitt transferred to Nevada from Roland-Story early in her sophomore season. She did all she could to try to take down her former school down, finishing 33 of 34 serving with four aces and compiling nine kills and six blocks.

"Shelbi was a really good front-row blocker for us and she served tough," Sneiderman said. "We were down big in set five and Shelbi, who's never served prior to this season, took the opportunity to step up big in that moment."

Sneiderman also recognized the play of senior outside hitter Mayzi Weig. Weig recorded 21 kills and 17 digs. 

Mayzi Weig led Nevada with 21 kills against Roland-Story Sept. 16 at the Nevada High School Field House in Nevada.

"Tonight was her first night playing six rotations," Sneiderman said. "She just played fantastic." 

Maddie Dunham (15 digs, eight kills and five aces), Emma Strottman (15 kills and four blocks) and freshman libero Dakota Hendricks (31 digs and two aces) also played well for Nevada in a losing effort.

"Maddie is the kid I always want on the floor," Sneiderman said. "Dakota gobbles up everything. Good luck getting a tip down on Dakota because she is going to be there." 

The Cubs fell to 6-14, with several of those losses coming to ranked teams in Classes 5A and 4A. They are 1-1 in the conference.

Rivalry brought out the best in both teams

Nevada's student section was loud and fully engaged in the HOIC volleyball battle between the Cubs and Roland-Story Sept. 16 at the Nevada High School Field House in Nevada.

The gym was packed, the student sections were loud and the competition was fierce on both sides of the net Thursday.

Roland-Story and Nevada are clearly the two best programs in the HOIC and they thrived on going against each other in a match that likely decided the conference championship.