Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Melae’ Lacy is the unquestioned go-to player for West High.
In the annual Battle for the Spike matchup with cross-town rival City High on Tuesday Lacy got plenty of help from her teammates.
Senior middle Sophia Deyak was excellent as was Kristiana Washington.
From junior setter Emma Stammeyer and Lucy Shmid to Alaina Greenlee, Lexi Nash and Lily Prochaska everyone in green and gold played a role in West High’s five set win on Tuesday.
“We needed everyone,” West High coach Keeley Arnold said with a smile.
However, when the match was on the line it was Lacy that came up the biggest.
Lacy had six of her match-high 20 kills in the decisive fifth set as West High (8-15) snapped a three-game losing streak in the Battle for the Spike series with a 25-15, 25-12, 23-25, 25-27, 19-17 marathon at West High.
“I think a lot of the time it is Melae’, Melae’, Melae’ but I think knowing that everybody has a part is important,” Deyake said. “Melae’ trusts everybody and everybody trusts Melae’ I think was the key tonight.”
Lacy led the way on Tuesday but the junior standout had plenty of backup.
Deyak had one of the best games of her career on senior night, hammering 14 kills and adding six ace blocks.
Washington added nine kills and three ace serves and Stammeyer did a little bit of everything finishing with 37 assists, six kills seven ace serves and three blocks as West High won the Spike for the first time since 2018.
“I think knowing that I have trust in them it built their confidence,” Lacy said of her teammates. “That’s all I wanted. Win or lose this game I just wanted us to trust each other and play the best we could.”
With City High (11-14) focused early on slowing Lacy it was the rest of the Trojans that helped West High get out of the gate quickly.
Washington had four kills in a 25-15 win in the first set and Deyak had four kills and a pair of ace blocks in a 25-12 West High win in the second set.
The Trojans led 19-17 in the third set following a 5-0 burst that was capped by a Washington ace serve.
Staring at a sweep City High took a timeout and suddenly everything changed.
“It really came down to being gritty,” City High coach Tricia Carty said. “We needed everybody to do what they were capable of whatever that job is and everybody kind of stepped up and we started to play more like a unit. We were playing team defense and that’s what we needed.”
City High scored five of the next six points and closed the set with back-to-back kills by Claire Ernst and Ruby McDonough to extend the match.
It was more of the same in the fourth set as City High staved off three match points while closing the set on a 6-1 run to force a fifth set.
Ernst and sophomore Emmy McComas each had six kills in the fourth-set win.
“I was so proud of the way they bounced back,” Carty said. “This is one of the longer matches we’ve had with West over the years and unfortunately it didn’t go our way tonight.”
West High jumped to a 3-1 lead in the fifth set and led 13-10 after back-to-back kills by Washington and Lacy.
“We realized it’s a shorter set and we had to come out right away,” Deyak said. “In the third and fourth set it took us a while to get going and that’s why we lost so we knew we had to come out with a bang and keep playing.”
City High again responded.
The Little Hawks scored four consecutive points on a McComas kill, an Ernst ace serve and two kills by McDonough to take a 14-13 lead.
The Little Hawks had match point three more times at 15-14, 16-15 and 17-16 but was thwarted by a Lacy kill or a Deyak kill each time.
“I know Melae’ is a really phenomenal player and she gets a majority of our kills but I knew that Sophia was going to be on fire tonight, I knew Lucy was going to be on fire tonight, Kristiana was on fire,” Stammeyer said. “I knew if we were out of system that someone was going to be there to put it away.”
West High took an 18-17 lead on a City High error and Lacy put the match away with her 20th kill.
“These rivalry matches I feel like people play 30 percent better or 30 percent worse,” Arnold said. “Tonight it was the better and we’ll take it.”
Ernst led City High with 16 kills while McDonough had 13 kills and three ace blocks and McComas had 13 kills.
City High finished with a 59-54 edge in kills but West High had 12 ace serves and 10 ace blocks behind the six blocks from Deyak.
“It means a lot especially being my senior year. It just shows a lot about how our team can overcome adversity and trust each other and how everything we’ve been doing in practice this season is paying off.”
City High 15 12 25 27 17
West High 25 25 23 25 19
City High (Kills-aces-blocks)
Jordyn Kucera 0-1-0, Emily Arling 3-2-1, Sidney Slay 9-1-1, Ruby McDonough 13-0-3, Lauren Koch 5-0-1, Claire Ernst 16-1-0, Emmy McComas 13-0-1, Claire Smothers 0-2-0, Totals 59-5-7.
Assists – Sidney Slay 39
West High (Kills-aces-blocks)
Lucy Schmid 4-0-0, Alaina Greenlee 0-1-0, Melae’ Lacy 20-0-0, Lexi Nash 0-1-0, Emma Stammeyer 6-7-3, Lily Prochaska 1-0-0, Kristiana Washington 9-3-1, Sophia Deyak 14-0-5, Totals 54-12-10.
Assists – Emma Stammeyer 37