Playing in the “A” division of the annual Mudecas Tournament proved to be as difficult as advertised last week for the Falls City Sacred Heart volleyball team. The “A” division featured four teams ranked in their respective classes – C2 No. 2 Freeman, D1 No. 2 Bruning-D-S, D2 No. 5 Sterling and D2 No. 4 FCSH – and another listed as a contender.
FCSH entered the tournament with a 7-0 record, but dropped two of their three games, both to cream-of-the-crop schools, to fall to 8-2 on the season.
FCSH head coach Susan Witt said despite the tough run at Mudecas, there was plenty to take away from the experience.
“I think our team realizes from this tournament that we can compete with tough teams,” Witt said. “I hope they realize how much they need to stay focused all the time and that they can never take a play off when playing tough teams, or any for that matter.”
Witt went on to say that the tournament was a good eye-opener for the freshmen, who one year ago, were competing in the rarely-competitive junior high circuit. She added that the seniors and juniors have made the growing pains easier through leadership and good communication on the court.
“I think our team works well together,” Witt said. “The experienced players are showing leadership and continue to communicate with the younger players to help our team. When we don’t do well, it is usually from missed serves or poor passing, not so much team communication.”
The good news, now, comes in the form of home games for the Class D2 No. 4 (Lincoln Journal Star) and No. 6 (Omaha World Herald) ranked Lady Irish. FCSH finally get a string of home games – their first of the season – beginning last night against Mound City, MO. FCSH turns around and hosts Nebraska City Lourdes (5-3) tonight at Prichard Auditorium and then Savannah, MO, comes to town next Monday.
The Lady Irish’s tough week in Beatrice began with a match against then undefeated and top-five ranked Bruning-Davenport-Shickley. FCSH battled in the first set, but lost a heartbreaker, 26-24, which seemed to deflate the relatively young Irish squad, as they fell 25-10 in the second set.
Sophomore Maggie Goltz led the attack with seven kills. Senior Rachel Parrish and freshman Haylee Heits chipped in three kills each, while seniors Ashli Jordan and Emma Schock had nine and five digs, respectively.
FCSH bounced back Tuesday with a three-set win over Johnson-Brock, 19-25, 25-8, 25-22. Elizabeth Magdanz handed out 27 assists, her second-best total of the season. The junior finished the tournament with 54 total assists. Heits and Goltz, who are most frequently on the other end of those assists, finished with 11 and nine kills, respectively, against J-B. Jordan tied a season-high with 18 digs and junior Abby Magdanz connected on 15-of-16 serves with three aces.
The win pitted FCSH against perennial rival and district foe Sterling in the consolation final. Sterling entered as the No. 5 (LJS) and No. 6 (OWH) ranked team in Class D2 and after losing to Palmyra in the first round, the Jets responded with a two-set win over Pawnee City.
The teams played two nail-biter sets with Sterling prevailing in the end, 26-24 and 25-23. Heits (11 kills), Goltz (9 kills) and freshman Jade Hill (3 blocks) led the Irish attack at the net. Elizabeth dished out 11 assists and recorded two ace serves and shared the team high in digs (10) with Jordan.