Colo-NESCO shows slight improvement on the volleyball court in 2021
The Colo-NESCO volleyball team made a couple steps in the right direction during the 2021 season.
The Royals went 6-22 overall and 2-3 in the Iowa Star Conference South Division under first-year coach Karissa Rempe. They were just 2-21 overall and 1-4 in the conference a year ago.
"I think our season went well," Rempe said. "The girls played their hardest amidst multiple challenges that were thrown at them throughout the season. They adapted well to the changes and kept playing."
Colo-NESCO defeated Meskwaki three times — the first time in three sets, the second going four sets during South Division play and the third a two-set sweep during the ISC tournament. The Royals also defeated Madrid in two sets and won a five-set war with Collins-Maxwell for a conference win on senior night.
"I feel like our senior night game was when the team played the best together," Rempe said. "Everyone did their job, and they communicated really well. It was fun to see them come together and play their hearts out."
The Royals' toughest loss came at the hands of Martensdale St. Marys Aug. 31 at Martensdale. They fell in five sets — losing the first 25-19, coming back with a 25-22 win, dropping a 25-11 decision in the third, scoring a 25-19 victory in the fourth then suffering a 15-13 loss in the rally game.
"I would say our biggest highlights were the five-set matches against Martensdale St. Mary's and Collins Maxwell," Rempe said. "They were hard fought games and to come out on top in both was great for our girls to experience."
Health issues played a role in Colo-NESCO's inability to string more victories together.
"We struggled staying healthy throughout the season," Rempe said. "We had multiple injuries and illnesses that struck mid-season, but there was always someone eager and ready to fill in wherever we needed them."
Rempe said serving was the team's strong point and passing its weakest link.
The Royals served at 85 % accuracy with 124 aces in 74 sets. They totaled 601 digs, 315 kills and 33 blocks on the season.
Senior outside hitter Jenna Hill and senior setter Izabell Volker were difference makers for the Royals.
Hill led Colo-NESCO with 151 kills on 17.2 % efficiency. She also had the most digs on the team with 138 and added 35 aces serving the ball.
Voelker dished out 199 assists and also delivered 133 digs. She had 34 kills on 12.1 % efficiency and added 29 aces on a team-best 92.1 % serving accuracy.
"Jenna and Izabell play extremely well together," Rempe said. "Jenna is an amazing all-around volleyball player. She is constantly diving on the floor for balls and trying to find different ways to score. Izabell is always ready. No matter where she is in rotation, she is constantly moving."
Junior middle blocker Sophia Piziali had 44 kills, 34 digs, 13 aces and seven blocks. Junior Rylie Handsaker finished with 77 digs, 39 kills, 10 aces and nine blocks.
Sophomore Syndey Ingle chipped in 24 kills and six blocks and Rebekah Nessa and Elsie Jensen and Rebekah Nessa seven kills apiece. Nessa also had 49 digs and 19 aces and Jensen 22 digs and eight aces.
Senior Molly Seyller had 130 digs at the libero and she tacked on six kills and three aces. Senior Taylor Cox delivered 10 digs and four aces, freshman Abigail Kettwig three kills and two digs and junior Jessica Duran one dig.
"I was impressed this year by a couple of our underclassmen stepping into bigger playing roles," Rempe said. "They played really hard and did their best at every practice and game."
It will be tough to replace Hill and Voelker along with Seyller, Nessa and Cox next season.
"Every senior impacted our team in a huge way," Rempe said. "They were strong leaders throughout the season. Four of our five seniors were starters all and the fifth played a significant role as well filling in at very different positions at different times. We are going to have some very big shoes to fill this coming season."
But Rempe is anxious to see what the future holds for Colo-NESCO.
"I am really looking to see the current junior class step up into some leadership roles," Rempe said. "I am excited to see them grow through that."