Lady Vikes fall to Underwood in five-set thriller

 AVOCA (Sept. 28) -- The AHSTW volleyball team continues to search for that big signature win in the Western Iowa Conference.
 The Lady Vikes appeared to be on their way Tuesday night, taking two of the first three sets vs. Underwood and leading most of the fifth and deciding “Race to 15.”
 Senior Natalie Hagadon’s booming 27th kill tied set five at 12-12 and seemed to give AHSTW the momentum it needed. But the visiting Eagles responded with the final three points - two on kills by Delaney Ambrose and Aliyah Humphrey - to win a WIC thriller 26-24, 9-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-12.
 The Eagles (9-10 overall) improved to 3-2 in league play and remain fourth in the WIC standings. AHSTW, which went 6-0 at Saturday’s Southwest Valley Tourney, dropped to 20-7 overall and 1-4 in the conference.
 The Lady Vikes previously lost 0-3 decisions against the WIC’s three unbeaten front runners - Treynor, Missouri Valley and Tri-Center - but the majority of those nine sets were closely contested, including three 26-24 losses and another of 25-23.
 AHSTW also lost 24-26 in Tuesday’s opening set despite holding late leads of 23-20 and 24-22.
 “We’ve been right there with teams. We have a tough conference and we’ve been in every game. We’ve been competitive,” said AHSTW head coach Kelsey Muxfeldt. “Mentally right now, it’s a struggle for us to finish games. Physically I think we’re there. Physically we have what we need. We can compete with everyone, so we’ve got some mental toughness to figure out in the next three weeks before tournaments start.”
 The Lady Vikes were unable to hold on after using a 6-0 run to go ahead 9-5 in set five. Hagadon, who already has 317 kills on the year - fourth in the state - was dominant at times Tuesday night but was held somewhat quiet in the final set - whether due to being in the back row, the Eagles’ getting touches at the net or passing struggles by the Lady Vikes.

Full story in Oct. 1 Harlan News-Advertiser

Underwood 26-9-23-25-15, AHSTW 24-25-25-19-12
AHSTW Stat Leaders -- Serving: 97/107 (90.7%), 9 aces - Ally Meyers 24/24 (2 aces), Halle Hall 20/21 (3 aces), Natalie Hagadon 21/23 (2 aces), Grace Porter 10/10. Attacks: 115/125, 50 kills (.320 eff.) - Hagadon 56/61, 27 kills (.361); Hall 37/41, 14 kills (.244); Delaney Goshorn 9/9, 5 kills (.556); Megan Wise 7/8, 3 kills (.250). Assists: 42 - Meyers 38. Digs: 53 - Meyers 14, Porter 13, Hagadon 10, Darian Hansen 7.
Underwood Stat Leaders -- Serving: 89/97 (91.8%), 8 aces - Sophia Fiedler 24/24 (3 aces), Cassidy Cunningham 19/22 (2 aces), Aliyah Humphrey 13/15 (2 aces), Leah Hall 13/14, Lesley Morales-Foote 11/12 (1 ace). Attacks: 115/141, 55 kills (.206 eff.) - Alizabeth Jacobsen 42/53, 22 kills (.208); Humphrey 34/40, 21 kills (.375); Delaney Ambrose 14/15, 6 kills (.333). Assists: 48 - Ambrose 45. Blocks: 12 - Cunningham 4 (1 solo), Chloe Clawson 3 (3 solos). Digs: 47 - Morales-Foote 14, Ambrose 11, Humphrey 8, Hall 8.

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