The Colfax volleyball team came back from some sloppy play early on to defeat Glenwood City in three sets 25-20, 25-15 and 25-7 during conference action on their home court Sept. 24, then traveled to Mondovi for a key match up two days later. The Buffaloes had their number as they kept the Vikings out of sync most of the night, taking three of four sets by scores of 25-19, 18-25, 25-21 and 25-20. The loss put the Vikings in a three way tie for second place in the conference at 3-1 while Mondovi is in first place all by themselves at 4-0.
Although Colfax took an early 5-2 lead in the first set, the Hilltoppers were ready to challenge them as they knotted the score at 7-7 and took leads of 10-9 and 11-10 before the Vikings’ Kori Buchanan put down a kill for an 11-11 tie. The Toppers rattled off three points for a 14-11 lead before Colfax knotted it again on a slam and a pair of Topper errors. The teams traded points with the Viking’s Emily Halpin and Alexis Rudi putting kills to the floor to make it 15-15 then16-16 and with Lakken Meredith at the service line, Colfax went up 21-16. Colfax maintained a five point lead at 22-17 with a tip shot by Chey Olson and at set point at 24-20, Halpin found an opening and slammed a shot down the middle of the court for the win.
Dannielle Dachel served up three straight points to open game two for a 3-0 Colfax lead but the Toppers came up with five points of their own on two ace serves and three Viking miscues. Glenwood continued to lead by three points at 8-5 but Meredith served up four points including an ace and Braanna Steen scored on a two handed tip combined with two Topper errors to put the Vikings up 10-8. Taylor Shipman caught the Toppers off guard, returning a short serve at the net for a quick point and Rudi served up a pair of points for a 12-9 lead. But Glenwood wasn’t going away as they came back to tie it at 12-12 and 13-13 before Dachel not only went to the service line for four points but set Buchanan up for a slam to put the Vikings up 17-13. Two aces by Buchanan and Halpin’s kill made it 20-14 and the Viking’s pulled away with the final point coming on Steen’s slam down the right side off a Dachel assist.
Game three was pretty much all Colfax as the Toppers appeared to lose their composure and had problems getting the ball over the net. The Vikings pulled out to a 6-1 lead in part by two Dachel aces and a Buchanan kill, and Buchanan took a turn at the service line and rattled off six straight serves with four of them not even close to being returned by the Toppers, and Colfax held a 13-3 lead. Steen then connected on a kill, Meredith served a couple more points, Georgette Wendt scored on a tip over the middle as did Meredith for a 19-6 lead. After a Topper kill followed by a shot into the net, Olson went to the service line at 20-7 and helped the team finish things off with five solid serves including an ace and Wendt put down the final kill for set and match.
Kill shots were evenly distributed for the Vikings as Steen, Halpin and Buchanan all finished with seven while Olson nailed five and Shipman tacked on four. Dachel and Meredith combined for 32 assists in the match but as a team, Colfax gave away eight points by missing serves.
Working with a low ceiling in the Mondovi gym caused a few problems with some questionable calls on the referee’s part as a result of that ceiling. Combining that with too many serving and kill errors by the Vikings forced them to play from behind most of the match. The Buffaloes took an 8-2 lead in the first set before Shipman put down a kill and a Buchanan slam and a Buffalo error brought Colfax closer to 8-5. An ace serve from Tuschl knotted the score at 10-10 and an Olson tip made it 11-11, then Colfax took advantage of Mondovi mistakes to go up 14-11, but the Vikings missed a few kill attempts and the Buffaloes retook the lead at 15-14. Rudi tied it with a kill before Mondovi slowly pulled away, going up 23-17 on a pair of slams down the middle before Steen broke the streak with a tip shot. Colfax scored on a block but Mondovi put set one away on another kill into an open spot.
The Vikings played from behind early in the second set, down 9-4 then put things together to knot it up at 11-11 on Buchanan’s kill. Meredith’s tip gave them a slim lead but a ball off the ceiling by Colfax gave Mondovi a point and it was tied again at 12-12. It was Colfax’s turn to start pulling away with Halpin stuffing a potential Buffalo kill, Buchanan smacking a shot cross court to go with a Halpin kill and a Tuschl ace for a 20-15 lead. They upped the lead to 24-17 thanks to an Olson block in the middle and a couple of Mondovi miscues and at 24-18, Buchanan put the exclamation point on the set with a whammer down the center of the court.
But Mondovi seemed to have an answer for everything the Vikings tried offensively the rest of the way.
“We both play a similar type of fast paced offense,” coach Pam Meredith said. “But Mondovi played it better tonight.”
Although Colfax took an early 5-2 lead in set three, in part by an intended pass from Buchanan from the back row that slipped over the net for a point, Mondovi countered every shot from there on out. The score was tied at 5-5, 13-13, 14-14, 16-16, 17-17, 20-20 and 21-21 as Halpin, Rudi, Steen and Buchanan all scored points at the net while Tuschl came up an ace serve. But two straight kills, one by Sarah Kopp, combined with two more missed shots by the Vikings gave Mondovi set number three.
It appeared it would be a very short evening when the Vikings went down 7-2 in set four. Coach Meredith called a time out in hopes of rallying her troops and it worked temporarily. A Steen tip and an Olson block brought the score to 9-5 but the Vikings were out of sorts offensively and defensively and they fell behind 15-7 before Olson served up an ace. What looked like a tip for a point by Halpin was called illegal however and the Vikings lost some momentum. Colfax fought back with Meredith serving and points at the net from Shipman, Buchanan and Steen along with a few errors by Mondovi to get the Vikings within two points at 19-17. Another ball hit by Colfax questionably hit the ceiling, giving Mondovi a point before a pair of Buffalo misses gave Colfax new life as they were down just 20-19. They missed a block at the net and a slam before Buchanan scored on her hardest shot of the night as Mondovi held a 23-20 lead, but a kill by Jenna Franzwa followed by a final ace serve from Emily Stoughton put the match away.
“It seemed like everytime we would get some momentum, we made a costly error like not calling a ball, missing a serve or hitting the ball too hard on their low ceiling,” coach Meredith said. “They served us tough so we were unable to run the speed of offense we are accustomed to. They did a great job of taking us out of our game. We missed 10 serves as a team and in matches like this, every point counts. We have a lot of tough matches left and I would like to believe there will be some upsets in the conference so we can still finish at the top,” she concluded.
Buchanan led the team with 11 kills and 20 digs while Steen, Olson and Rudi all had five kills. Olson also had 12 digs and Steen, Shipman and Halpin finished with a trio of solo blocks and Meredith and Dachel combined to set their teammates up 30 times.