One To Gold: Lynx erase Garrigan, inch closer to NCC crown

WEBSTER CITY – And then there was one.

Ninth-ranked (Class 4A) Webster City has destiny in its own hands where the North Central Conference championship is concerned as the season dwindles, and last night the Lynx took another important step towards a potential second title in three years.

Algona Bishop Garrigan never stood a chance.

Powered by fast starts in each of the sets, WCHS (22-5, 7-1 NCC) jumped ahead and stayed ahead all night long to coast by the Golden Bears in three sets, 25-10, 25-18, 25-18. Garrigan (14-16, 1-7 NCC) never led for even a second and only tied the Lynx on two occasions – at 1-1 in the opening set and then at 14-14 in the second set.

Otherwise, it was all Lynx all night.

“That’s been our goal all season, to come out and score that first point and let (the opponent) know who’s going to score the rest of the points,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “The girls did a good job of staying aggressive all night.”

WCHS needs only to beat Clear Lake on its home floor next Tuesday to grab no worse than a share of the conference crown. No. 8-ranked (3A) Iowa Falls-Alden can also snag a piece of the championship if it wins its remaining league bouts.

“We’re in the position to be able to come out on top in the conference,” Howard said. “We’ve just got to come out strong in that last conference match.”

Kaylee Schnathorst ripped 12 of the Lynx 28 kills against Garrigan, including four in a six-point stretch of the third set to send WCHS on its way to the quick outing. She also dropped in her lone service ace during a 9-0 spurt that extended her team’s lead to 14-4 in the finale.

But WCHS did equally as well when it just got out of its own way and let Garrigan fire balls into the net, long and wide. The Golden Bears were constantly flustered by the Lynx defense at net, led by Hannah Myers and her four blocks.

“We can’t rely on other teams to make mistakes to score points, but we got a few points that way,” Howard said.

Myers had a pair of snuffs to go along with two kills in the first set. WCHS scored 10 of the first 14 points and pushed the advantage to double digits for good at 18-8. A Schnathorst kill from the left side of the floor on the final point gave the Lynx the 1-0 lead.

The teams traded spurts in the second set. WCHS raced out to a 14-9 lead, but let its foot off the gas for a few minutes and allowed Garrigan to score five straight to knot the score at 14. The Lynx answered out of a timeout with seven consecutive points, keyed by three kills from Schnathorst during the run.

A Morgan Gourley slam off a short kill ended the stanza, and Gourley also closed out the final set with a block.

Gourley collected five kills, as did Myers. Molly Gilbert chipped in three.

Setters Ashley Price and Gianna Gourley handed out 13 and 10 assists, respectively.

Gilbert was a busy girl in the back row defensively, as she piled up 11 digs. Morgan Gourley finished with eight; Schnathorst and Price both tallied six.

WCHS will take part in the Johnston Invitational on Saturday.