Easy as 1-2-3: Hawks thump CMB, enter postseason with momentum

JEWELL – The last thing Hannah Pulis wanted to do was limp into the postseason. Turning in a clunker on Senior Night would have only added to the misery.

And so she went to work; diving all over the back row, throwing in timely service aces and constantly encouraging teammates during breaks in the action.

It worked.

Throw out a couple of stretches of poor execution on serve receive and the South Hamilton volleyball team was in complete control in a 3-0 sweep of Collins-Maxwell-Baxter last night on Coach Jim Marsh Court. The Hawks (12-14, 5-4 HOIC), which finished the regular season on a three-match win streak, breezed in the opening two sets and then sweated out the third to win 25-17, 25-11, 25-22.

“It was good to finish the (Heart of Iowa) conference on a strong note and it felt good because it was Senior Night,” Pulis, one of only two seniors on the roster, said after piling up nine digs and four aces.

South Hamilton will have 12 days off before it begins Class 2A regional play at home against either Woodward-Granger or Madrid, so executing well and going into the break on a role was crucial.

“This should help us come back strong and confident,” Pulis said. “It’s going to be a long practice week with no (matches), but hopefully this will help us practice harder.”

Outside hitters Ady Wintermote and Alyssa Hegland hammered down 10 eight kills, respectively, as the Hawks hit .250 as a team. Hegland cranked it out at a team-high efficiency rate of .533.

Middles Tiffany Jacobson (five) and Savana Stangeland (four) combined for nine more kills. They were effective enough on quick sets to keep CMB’s blockers honest and that allowed Wintermote and Hegland to swing away freely against just one blocker on the perimeter most of the night.

Stangeland was also a force at net defensively with 10 blocks.

Wintermote was at her best during the closing stretch of the opening set. The final four points came courtesy of three kills and a block; she smacked half of her kills during the first stanza.

Hegland took over in the second set by ripping four kills, three coming from the right side of the floor.

Molly Minich – the Hawks’ only other senior – took control of Set No. 2 at the service line when she led the team on a 10-0 run to take the score from 7-4 to 17-4. Both of her aces came during the spurt.

There were six ties and six lead changes in the final set before the Hawks gained control on a Kenzie Busch knuckleball ace. Wintermote’s 10th blast from the outside gave the Hawks match point and they finished it off on a Wintermote ace.

Minich contributed a team-high 11 digs and eight assists. Busch distributed nine assists and Hegland chipped in eight digs.

Hawks’ head coach Cindy Holmes likes the way her team is playing going into the hiatus.

“Just staying dominant and not giving away a (set) is great momentum,” she said. “We had a big win Tuesday night over Greene County, but the girls weren’t content with that. They wanted to come back and sweep (last night).”