Short and Sweet: No. 11-ranked Lynx pancake Eagles in 3 sets

WEBSTER CITY – A clear sign things are going according to plan: When players can pose for a family photograph on the court between sets.

It may have made head coach Jess Howard roll her eyes when sisters Kaylee and Taylor Schnathorst and Molly Gilbert put their arms around each other for the photo moments before the first point of the final set last night inside the WCHS gymnasium, but if her players continue to play like this she’ll allow as many photos as they want.

“Molly’s my best friend and she was over at our house all summer, so it was our chance to have a kind of family photo,” Kaylee Schnathorst said while laughing after she helped 11th-ranked (Class 4A) Webster City obliterate Eagle Grove in three sets.

Schnathorst, a senior outside hitter, blasted 20 kills in 29 chances – her efficiency was a staggering .655 – as the Lynx (18-5, 3-1 NCC) outscored the Eagles 75-29 in match points in their 25-11, 25-11, 25-7 rout that took just 53 minutes.

WCHS made it a priority to get Schnathorst touches from various spots on the court and she delivered. Running attacks off back sets, back row darts and her bread-and-butter lashes from the left side of the court all spelled no chance for Eagle Grove (1-24, 0-5 NCC), which dropped its 10th straight match.

“We ran a different kind of offense to see if it wold work,” Schnathorst said. “It was a good night to get some things done and it was a good bounce-back night from (the loss to Iowa Falls-Alden last week). It gives us some more confidence.”

WCHS hit .485 as a team against the over-matched Eagle defense. The Lynx made just five errors in 68 swats and delivered 38 kills. Morgan Gourley smacked seven; Hannah Myers, Molly Gilbert and Alex Dinsdale all finished with four.

Schnathorst made a statement from the opening point and she pounded eight kills in the first set. Five of Eagle Grove’s 11 points in the stanza came on Lynx service errors.

Schnathorst crushed seven more kills in the second set – a frame in which WCHS looked at its one and only deficit of the match at 2-1. The Lynx scored 10 the next 12 points to forge ahead for good.

A service ace by Ashley Price pushed the cushion to 23-10, and Gourley and Schnathorst finished it off with back-to-back kills.

WCHS scored the opening six points of the third set. Eagle Grove finally got on the board and then the Lynx rattled off seven more points to lead 13-1. From there it was only a matter of time and it ended on Price’s second ace of the match.

Myers led the defense at net with six blocks, all of which translated into points. Gourley had 10 digs, while Gilbert (seven) and Schnathorst (five) combined for 12.

Price doled out 21 assists. Gianna Gourley was responsible for 14 more.

The quick outing in which they could work on things played perfectly for the Lynx, who will now concentrate on Thursday’s critical conference match at 15th-ranked (3A) Algona. The two teams have met three times in tournament play this season; the Bulldogs have won two of the clashes.

Both WCHS and Algona have dropped league matches to front-runner Iowa Falls-Alden. Thursday’s loser is likely out of the title chase, and that leads Schnathorst to believe it could be a marathon.

“It’s Algona,” she said. “This is going to be big. We can tell that they want it just as bad, so it’s going to be a brawl.”

Howard says her players just need to approach it like they do every other match.

“We’ve got to go into every (match) playing to win,” she said. “We’re going to use what we did (last night) and see how we can apply it to Thursday.”