Grundy Center volleyball collars pair of Bulldogs

Carlie Willis redirects an attack around MFL MarMac’s block during last Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal. (Jake Ryder photo)
Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

GRUNDY CENTER – Grundy Center defeated MFL MarMac and Lake Mills to reach the Class 2A Region 5 final played Wednesday, Oct. 26.

The Spartans swept MFL MarMac 25-8, 25-10, 25-7 last Wednesday, then bounced Lake Mills 25-21, 25-21, 25-11 on Monday, Oct. 24 to reach the final game before state. The Spartans, ranked ninth in 2A, will have a tall task against No. 5 Denver at Union High School in La Porte City, scheduled for a 7 p.m. first serve.

The teams have met three times already this season, with Denver winning all three meetings. The most recent showdown on Oct. 11 went to four sets in a 3-1 Cyclone victory.

“We really learned how much we have to get on them right away,” Grundy Center junior Shirley Monaghan said. “Instead of settling in and waiting towards the middle of the game, jump on them right away and it’ll make a difference.”

Grundy Center got off to a strong start against the Bulldogs on Oct. 19. The Spartans landed 18 ace serves as a team and allowed zero Bulldog aces, which Monaghan indicated was a key component to victory.

“Our biggest concern was first contacts, like serving and serve receive,” Monaghan continued. “We’ve been working a lot on defense and first contact.”

Monaghan had two of those aces on 8-of-9 serving. Carlie Willis and Ellery Luhring each landed five ace serves and Paige Venenga had four.

When play went to the net, Luhring distributed 34 assists, with Willis smacking 17 kills on 25 attacks, Monaghan adding eight kills and seven kills landing for Kayden Muller.

Willis also led the team in digs with nine passes on Wednesday.

“If we win the serve and pass game, we are really hard to beat,” Grundy Center head coach Lori Willis said. “We’ve got our offense. We’ve got our defense. Now we’re really just focusing on those certain tasks.”

After a couple of two-set losses to the Cyclones earlier this season, being able to get one off the Cyclones late in the season was encouraging progress for the Spartans, Lori Willis said.

“We were stressing them out, you could see it in their faces,” she continued. “And we passed really bad when we played them last, so for us to do that and still compete, that’s a good thing.”

Carlie Willis slammed 21 kills against Lake Mills and added 13 digs and four aces on 16-of-17 serving. Ellery Luhring had 36 assists, four blocks and nine digs. Kayden Muller added nine kills and Shirley Monaghan had five kills and nine digs.


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