Redhawks rock Warriors in three sets

North Tama’s Alexis Hansen attacks over the net against the Meskwaki Warriors on Oct. 5. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

TRAER — North Tama’s difficult schedule meant a match against a young, winless Meskwaki volleyball team Monday night was a different contest entirely.

The Redhawks (9-9) were sloppy and made themselves sweat in the second set, but it was otherwise a comfortable 3-0 victory against the Warriors (0-16) at home.

North Tama head coach Channing Halstead said it was a frustrating game, particularly with serves.

“Serving-wise I thought we could have been a lot more aggressive,” Halstead said. “We’ve been practicing serving a lot, and so I was kind of disappointed that wasn’t better.”

The Redhawks were led in aces with six each from Alexis Hansen and Izzy Hallett.

The match started with North Tama taking an 11-4 lead and forcing an early Meskwaki timeout. The set didn’t get much closer as the game grew choppy and was filled with errors on both sides of the net. The first set ended with a 25-6 North Tama victory despite the team’s imperfections in the set.

The second set took a different turn, with the Warriors hanging around and capitalizing on the Redhawks’ errors to tie the set at 16 and carry a threat to steal a game from the home team.

Meskwaki coach Steffanie Benda said it was a sign of progress to be in a rhythm against a team of North Tama’s caliber.

“The girls were altogether in a rhythm, they were playing and killing it,” Benda said. “We noticed how they came up from behind on the first set to the second set, and we changed a couple of minor things. They’ve gotta learn to have the mental capability to be able to carry it all the way through.”

The Redhawks were error-plagued but still able to create 22 kills over the course of the match. Hansen and Jade Rausch led the team with six kills apiece, while Shae Ewoldt hit four. Rausch also paced the team in assists with 14. As a team North Tama assisted on 21 of its 22 registered kills.

The stop-start, rugged nature of Monday night’s game is no better expressed than in North Tama’s dig numbers. Halstead said North Tama feeds off of its defense, and when there is not much defense to be played in a match it can mess with the team’s confidence and hinder chances of success. The Redhawks only recorded 15 digs as a team against the Warriors, with Lainey Willenbring carrying the flag with four of them. Rausch and Abby DeBoef had three each.

The third set was a statement from North Tama. The team got off to a 15-1 start to the set, walking to a 25-3 win to close out the match and move the Redhawks to .500 on the season — a strong feat after losing key contributors from a 2019 State tournament team and starting the year with a difficult schedule.

Halstead said it’s important for this team’s strong schedule to build momentum for the playoffs, something she hoped wasn’t stunted by a sloppy performance against the Warriors.

“We’ve gotta keep our heads on straight, because we’re going to run into tough competition down the road,” Halstead said.

North Tama plays Baxter at home Thursday night, while Meskwaki plays Twin Cedars on the road Oct. 15.