Ames volleyball's seniors are leading the team to its best season in years. They added another win on Senior Night.

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

There was no denying the Ames volleyball team on Senior Night versus Fort Dodge Friday at the Ames High gym in Ames.

The Little Cyclones outlasted the Dodgers in the first set, survived a scare in the second and rolled in the third, winning by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-19.

"It was awesome," Ames senior middle blocker Alexa Kopaska said. "It was super fun having all the seniors there contributing."

Every senior came through on their big night.

Kopaska had nine kills, three digs and two blocks. Outside hitter Lola Campbell finished with 12 kills and seven digs. 

Setter Olivia Smalley handed out 17 assists and tallied five kills. Middle blocker Ling Bai had three kills and one block, Maron Gaunt went 10 of 12 serving with an ace and Katherine Martin chipped in one kill.

MORE: Alex Kopaska leads Ames volleyball team looking for best season in years

Ames setter Olivia Smalley sets the ball against Fort Dodge during the second set of the Little Cyclones' sweep over the Dodgers on senior night in Ames Tuesday.

"Maron came in and had that huge ace at the beginning of her last serving run, Lola had a crazy run first set, Ling was so clutch with the blocks and the swings and Olivia just dishes the ball and is so consistently good every time," Kopaska said. "It's just so good to come out with my best friends and get the win."

The victory put Ames at 8-15 overall and 2-3 in CIML Iowa competition. It also snapped a five-match losing streak. This is the Little Cyclones' best season in years. They didn't top seven wins from 2015-18, and they're on pace to have the most wins since they went 19-23 in 2014-15.

"We've kind of had a rough few weeks," Ames head coach Meg Williams said. "We do really well against teams that have a faster pace, but we sometimes can't set the pace if we face teams that are slower than us. We had a meeting Monday and they talked about that. They went into practice Monday with a lot of energy and the intent that we're not going to lose against Fort Dodge."

It was pink-out night in Ames and a large student section showed up to help ensure the Little Cyclones came out on top.

"Our student section was great, which built us up," Bai said. "Everything pieced itself together tonight and we had some good competition, which was great."

After holding on in the first set, Ames came back from a 12-6 deficit to take the second. The third set went back and forth for awhile, but a Kopaska kill sparked a 4-0 run that gave Ames a 15-11 lead.

The Little Cyclones held off a brief Fort Dodge charge, thanks in large part to the serving of Gaunt. Gaunt served four straight points to build a 24-17 lead before Campbell finished off Fort Dodge with a kill.

"I think I was just running off a lot of adrenaline," Gaunt said. "We were so close to winning and I wanted to take home a win, especially for senior night and our last night all playing together on our home court."

MORE: Meet Lola Campbell, one of Ames' volleyball's key senior leaders

Ames libero Jude Spillers returns the ball against Fort Dodge during the first set of the Little Cyclones sweep over the Dodgers on senior night Tuesday at the Ames High gym.

Ireland Buss added three kills and four digs and aces apiece. Jude Spillers had 10 digs and one ace from the libero spot and Elaina Deardorff dished out 10 assists.

"One thing to come out of tonight is that there is so much to look forward to for the future of this program," Kopaska said. "There is so much talent in our underclassmen."

Ames next plays at the Hampton-Dumont-CAL Invitational. The tournament takes place this Saturday at Hampton.