BLOCK-TACULAR: Lynx bully Wildcats

WEBSTER CITY – Hannah Myers isn’t that different from every other front row volleyball player. She likes to hit. She likes to hit hard.

But that’s not what she says is the most fun.

“I enjoy blocking more than hitting because it’s a bigger adrenaline rush for me,” she said.

The adrenaline had to be pumping through her veins at an all-time high last night inside the WCHS gymnasium.

Myers put on her own block party, particularly early on, as she swatted seven solo snuffs back at North Central Conference rival Humboldt to set the stage for a 3-0 sweep for 11th-ranked (Class 4A) Webster City.

She piled up four blocks in the first set alone in the Lynx 25-22, 25-15, 25-23 rout.

“(The first set blocks) were important because we got in their heads early and it made them start to make mistakes,” Myers, who also hit .461 with eight kills, said. “We were able to jump on them and put the hammer down.”

WCHS (14-2, 2-0 NCC) trailed for just two of the 135 points played in the match. Humboldt (9-4, 1-1 NCC) didn’t enjoy its first lead until the opening point of the third set and the Wildcats never held a lead larger than a single point.

“We continued to play aggressively all night and it eventually wore down their defense,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “(Myers) was aggressive for us and she kept them guessing which way to swing when they were running their offense. She made them second-guess their swing.”

Four players notched at least six kills for the Lynx. Molly Gilbert and Kaylee Schnathorst both cranked out nine and Morgan Gourley checked in with six, five coming in the final set.

The Lynx hit just .145 as a team, but they made up for it with hard serving that kept the Wildcats back on their toes all night. They finished with eight aces – five coming from Schnathorst – and earned plenty of free balls.

Humboldt set its defense to try to eliminate Schnathorst – a multiple-time first-team all-conference outside hitter – with two and sometimes three blockers. But all that did was leave Gilbert and Myers one-on-one in the center and the two juniors delivered.

“There’s not going to be a team that’s going to be able to single out just one of our hitters,” Howard said. “I think they’ll probably start (by focusing on Schnathorst) and then have to adjust because they’ll see what we have to offer.”

WCHS took control of the opening set with a 7-0 run that turned a 14-14 tie into a 21-14 lead. Myers piled up three of her blocks during the spurt.

Humboldt climbed to within 24-22 before Schnathorst put an end to it with a monster slam down the line – her third of the set.

WCHS controlled Set No. 2 throughout and doubled up the Wildcats at one point, 20-10. Schnathorst’s only solo block of the night pushed the Lynx cushion to 14-10; she then rattled off three aces in a five-point stretch.

Humboldt never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

There were 11 ties in the third set and WCHS never had a lead bigger than four points. It was knotted at 23 when Gourley ripped her fifth kill of the set from the middle of the floor and the celebration began moments later when little sister Gianna Gourley split the defense with an ace.

The Wildcats had their moments on the attack, but WCHS also played solid defense led by Morgan Gourley with 12 digs and Schnathorst with 11. Carly Jacobson held up in the back row with nine and Gilbert chipped in eight.

Ashley Price dished out 20 of the team’s 31 assists. Gianna Gourley had the other 11.

WCHS will now take a few days off to enjoy the homecoming festivities before getting back to work on Saturday at the Forest City Invitational.