Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Facing a loaded WAMAC East Division slate left Solon winless against conference competition entering its final regular season match against a conference foe.
A challenging overall schedule had the Spartans sitting at 11-16 with the postseason approaching.
Solon didn’t feel like a team without a conference win or a sub-.500 squad.
The Spartans don’t look much like either of those things either. At least they didn’t on Tuesday.
Solon (12-16) made big plays late in each set in a 25-22, 25-23, 27-25 sweep of Maquoketa in WAMAC East Division match in Solon.
“Maquoketa is the only team we’ve played in the conference not ranked in the top 10,” Solon coach Jeff Walker said. “It’s just been a brutal schedule and I’m hoping that helps us when we get into tournament time.”
Solon lost consecutive East Division matches to top-10 opponents Dyersville Beckman, Marion, West Delaware and Mount Vernon before Tuesday’s win over Maquoketa (9-11).
Overall, 13 of the 16 loss for Solon this season have come to ranked opponents.
The Spartans hope the challenging schedule will pay dividends going forward, beginning with Tuesday.
“We have held up against some of the really good teams in our conference,” Solon junior Maddie Manifold said. “I think that our conference being so good and our schedule being so tough is just something that forces us to be better.”
Solon used a balanced offensive attack and late rallies to secure its first WAMAC win of the season.
Manifold led five players with at least five kills with a match-high 12 as Solon finished with a 42-26 edge in kills.
“I think tonight everyone was doing pretty well at putting the ball away,” Manifold said. “We all trusted ourselves to put it down.”
Maquoketa led by as many as six early in the opening set and led 17-12 following a 3-0 spurt that ended with a Mikaela Burken kill.
Solon scored six of the next seven points to pull even at 18 and took its first lead at 20-19 on a Kylee Flynn ace.
Solon secured the opening-set win with a Manifold kill.
“I think we played well but we definitely could have played better,” Flynn said. “We did some things well but I know our team and we can play better than that.”
Solon trailed 15-13 in the second set but battled back again, snapping a 19-all tie with a 3-0 burst that featured a Delaney Bombei kill, an ace block by Camryn Keith and an ace serve by Alexa Hupfeld.
Manifold had six of her match-high 12 kills in the second set and Keith came up with the set-clincher.
“We have a lot of girls getting more confident throughout the season as they gain experience,” Manifold said. “Some of those girls are new to varsity and they have just become part of the family.”
Maquoketa erased a five-point deficit with an 8-0 run in the third set and led 24-21 before a late Solon rally.
Manifold had a kill, Keith had two and Kennedy Bombei an ace serve that tied the set at 24.
The Spartans put the match away with a Keith ace block and an ace serve by Manifold.
“We started a little slow but as the talking went up our energy went up,” Manifold said. “We all were just going for it.”
Delaney Bombei had nine kills, Katlyn Jeter had eight, Keith six and Kennedy Bombei five for the Spartans.
Keith had four ace blocks while Flynn had five ace serves.
“It makes it really easy for me,” Flynn said. “When I can set it and we have girls getting shots down it makes it really easy.”
Solon 25 25 27
Maquoketa 22 23 25
Alexa Hupfeld 0-3-0, Sophia Stahle 0-1-0, Maddie Manifold 12-1-0, Delaney Bombei 9-0-0, Kylee Flynn 1-5-0, Sarah Heick 1-0-0, Sydney Langenberg 0-2-0, Camryn Keith 6-0-4, Katlyn Jeter 8-1-2, Kennedy Bombei 5-1-0, Team 42-14-6.
Assists – Kylee Flynn 29
Addie Bowman 0-3-0, Natalie Ehlinger 5-0-0, Madi Lemke 6-0-4, CJ Yeager 0-1-0, Tenley Cavanagh 0-2-0, Emma Chapin 4-0-0, Mikaela Burken 9-0-1, Carley Davis 2-0-1, Team 26-6-6.
Assists – Tenley Cavanagh 21.