LEON — Mount Ayr showed just how prepared it was for Tuesday’s Pride of Iowa Conference tournament semifinals when it sprinted out to a 19-3 lead over hosts Central Decatur in the first set of the night, and despite a decent run by the Cardinals, emerged with a sweep by scores of 25-13, 25-16.
“Mount Ayr definitely came ready to play tonight. At this level it’s a battle of who is going to make fewer errors,” first-year Central Decatur coach Alexys Doty said. “They served aggressive and forced us to play clean volleyball.”
The Cardinals had mistakes compounded by more mental miscues and backed off their attack in the first set against Mount Ayr.
“We play our best volleyball when hitters are aggressive and taking full swings at the ball. Passing and setting plays a huge roll in how aggressive our hitters can be at the net,” Doty said. “I think as long as we can clean up our serving errors and allow ourselves to get into a rhythm offensively, we will be just fine come next week.”
Southwest Valley fell against Southeast Warren 25-18, 25-14 to allow the Warhawks through to the finals, but did play well in defeating Central Decatur 27-25, 25-13 for third place.
Abby Fleharty led Southwest Valley with six kills in the win over CD.
“Beating CD for second time this season was great!” Southwest Valley coach Lindsey Wetzel said. “After not playing well in the first match of the night against SEW, it was great to see the girls come back, fight and work hard for the win against CD.”
The loss meant a fourth-place finish for the Cardinals in the Pride of Iowa tournament.
To get to the final, the Cardinals on Monday hosted and defeated Pleasantville 25-12, 25-15, and East Union 25-18, 23-25, 16-14.
CD had production from a variety of sources in the win over Pleasantville.
Emma Atwood clobbered 11 kills and was 14 of 15 serving with four aces, helping the Cardinals to jump out early with an aggressive attack.
Maizee Lindsey had 21 assists, as she also provided consistent sets to Erica Kauzlarich (six kills) and Alaina Applegate (four kills).
Alliey Boswell led the Cardinals with 15 digs, while both Lindsey and Kauzlarich had five each.
“My first year with this group of girls has been awesome!,” Doty said. “They have worked hard and really bought in to my coaching techniques and philosophies. We are such a young group that has already made huge strides. I look forward to working with them in the off season and seeing even more improvements heading into next season.
Central Decatur (15-12) opens up postseason play on the 17th.
No stats were available from the East Union match or Tuesday evening’s matches.