JEWELL — Roland-Story was determined to earn its first Heart of Iowa Conference victory Sept. 19.
The Norsemen came out on fire, withstood a shaky stretch in the second set and did a great job making adjustments in a 25-15, 25-22, 25-13 sweep over South Hamilton.
“It's always good to get a win, especially against one of our rival schools,” Roland-Story middle hitter Madison Martindale said. “We wanted to get at least one of our rival schools. It's always fun to play South Hamilton. They always put up a good fight.”
Roland-Story improved to 8-4 overall and 1-2 in the Heart of Iowa Conference with the win. The Norsemen showed they learned a lot from their opening conference matches - losses to Nevada and Gilbert — by dominating the net and staying one step ahead of South Hamilton for most of the night.
“Everybody is doing really well all together,” Martindale said. “I'm really proud of how far we've come so far and it's really exciting to see how far we're going to go.”
Martindale helped Roland-Story get off to a fast start in the opening set. She came up big on both sides of the net to give the Norse a 12-4 lead then she picked up an ace to up the advantage to 16-5.
In the second set it was Reagan Schmitz to the rescue for Roland-Story. The Norse started off slow due to poor passing as they fell behind, 12-6.
“The second game we were passing too far off the net and that was not allowing us to have all of our offensive players involved,” Roland-Story head coach Molly Geise said. “So then we were getting blocked.”
But Schmitz had a great serving stretch to give the Norse a 15-12 lead and they never trailed the rest of the way.
“I'm not going to take all the credit for it,” Schmitz said. “Our team did a really good job of putting the ball down where they needed to.”
After going up 2-0 there was going to be no stopping Roland-Story. The Norsemen cruised in the third set to take the match.
Geise credited her players for taking what South Hamilton gave them.
“We did a good job when we found what was open,” Geise said. “The tip over the block was open. girls listened, they adjusted and they went with that. After (South Hamilton) picked up on what we were doing then we switched back and went aggressive again.”
The Norsemen also did well at the net for most of the match. They had 32 kills in 87 attacks and also came up with five blocks.
“Our first games we were kind of slow and we weren't as confident,” Roland-Story middle hitter Madison Martindale said. “Now we're getting up strong and we're taking away their (angles) for our defense so they can get better digs.”
Martindale played a big role in slowing down South Hamilton's attack. She finished the match with three solo blocks.
“We've worked a lot on watching the ball out of the setter's hands,” Martindale said. “We're really focusing on where we think the ball is going to go and just having fast feet.”
Amy Rathmacher had 11 kills and 10 digs and she also went 15 of 15 serving with an ace for Roland-Story. Madison Geise added 17 assists, 11 digs, seven kills and one ace, Juliann Clark six kills and seven digs, Reagan Barkema four kills and Martindale three kills and blocks apiece plus an ace.
Ava Charlson added 10 digs and one ace and Schmitz finished 11 of 12 serving with one ace and she also accounted for five digs. Reagan Vogelaar tacked on three assists and two digs and Reece Johnson one kill and one block.