MANSON - Postseason play opened on the right foot for the Manson Northwest Webster volleyball team here Tuesday night.
The Cougars (26-11 overall) swept away rival St. Edmond in three games in a Class 2A, Region 2 first-round match.
Scores were 25-21, 25-5 and 25-12.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Manson Northwest Webster’s Kourtney Condon hits a shot over the net as St. Edmond teammates Megan Flattery (left) and Jill Salinas go for a block on Wednesday. For more photos, visit CU?at www.messengernews.net
"We're getting a fire lit under us and are starting to come on right now," MNW head coach Denise Condon said. "We started off pretty sluggish, but we never really got down on ourselves and were still able to take the first game."
All knotted midway through the see-saw first set, which featured a combined 29 ties and lead changes, the Cougars gained control by reeling off eight straight points. Two Amanda Lang aces and kills from Kourtney Condon and Alexis Caquelin helped seal the deal for the home team.
"Once we got to the timeout (with MNW in front 22-19 after a mini 5-0 run by SEHS), I said, 'ladies we have to play for our fans and not just for ourselves," said Denise Condon. "I thought our back row players really did an awesome job (Tuesday) of passing the ball. (Ellie) Herzberg in the middle and Condon on the outside both played very well for us again, too."
Still riding a wave of momentum, Manson Northwest Webster dominated the last two sets behind early 14-1 and 10-4 bursts, respectively. The Cougars trailed just once during that pivotal stretch, which came by a 1-0 count in the finale.
Ellie Herzberg, a University of Northern Iowa basketball commit, went 8-for-9 at the service line with six kills and five solo blocks for the Cougars.
Lang (23 of 23 serving and five aces), Condon (14-for-16 hitting, 10 of 10 serving and four kills) and Cloie Herzberg (18-for-18 serving and 18 assists) were the other top performers for Manson Northwest Webster.
"We have struggled the last part of the season with injuries, but we really played (the Cougars) with so much heart," said SEHS head coach Dee Huss. "I just didn't see the effort from our entire team (last night), and that is disappointing to us coaches.
"All you want for your team is to play to their potential and accept their roles on the team."
Seniors Alli Huss (8 kills, 3 blocks and 5-for-7 serving), Lauren Moeding (6 of 6 on serves and 18 assists), Paige Savery (20 digs, 8-for-8 serving and 2 aces) and Kenzie Hawley (9 digs) paced St. Edmond (11-17) in their final career appearances.
"I am so proud of my seniors and the leadership they have shown all season long," Huss said. "I am sure this loss was not the way they wanted to go out. They were so important to our program, and I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors."
Manson Northwest Webster now advances to face No. 8 Ridge View (32-7) in a 2A, Region 2 quarterfinal on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Schaller.