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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Wildcats play for state tonight

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

This will be no early Saturday morning showdown for the seventh-ranked Schaller-Crestland and fourth-ranked Galva-Holstein volleyball teams, who play for a berth in the Class A Iowa State Tournament tonight in Ida Grove.

The Wildcats and Cardinals have met each other once in two early-season tournaments, with Galva-Holstein winning the first 2-0 and the second 2-1.

"They were Saturday morning games and that was early in the season," Schaller-Crestland coach Marilyn Murra said Sunday night. "We didn't have a good day either time we played them and we've improved a lot defensively since them."

That doesn't mean Murra or her team is taking Galva-Holstein lightly.

"In both tournament games, they did a good job finding our holes on the court," she said. "They have some very tough hitters at the net and excellent blockers who could give our best hitters trouble.

"It will be tough, close game and that's the way a region final should be."

Schaller-Crestland, meanwhile, has swept through the district-region tournament thus far, beating Storm Lake/St. Mary's, Newell-Fonda and WLVA each 3-0.

The Pirates have done the same, sweeping Kingsley-Pierson, River Valley and Hinton in three games each.

The Wildcats have done just about everything well this season, although serving has been a strongpoint of late. Schaller-Crestland was 72 of 73 in serving against WLVA for a stunning 98 percent. S-C serves with 94 percent accuracy per match this season, Murra said.

She says the biggest improvement with her team from early in the season has been team defense.

"Our court coverage wasn't as good as it could have been early, but it's gotten better."

The Wildcats are led offensively by two all-state candidates in six-foot Jenna Malcom and 5-10 Monica Bloyer. According to Murra, Malcom averages 3.77 kills per game while Bloyer averages 3.3.

S-C has an outstanding setter in Kayla Bihrer and a strong outside hitter in senior Amy Wedeking. All of the Wildcats serve well, with, Bihrer averaging 96 percent accuracy, Malcom 95 percent and Wedeking 92 percent.

Defensively, Malcom has been strong at the net, averaging 1 ace block per game. Also defensively, Wedeking is averaging 2.36 digs per game. and Bloyer 2.21.

Murra added that she doesn't put a lot of stock in the early-season losses to the Pirates.

"It was the first time all season we'd been beaten so it was a matter of some frustration setting in," she said. "We've put it behind us, but Galva-Holstein is an outstanding team and we've got to play our best to win."

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