Washington Evening Journal
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NEW LONDON — The No. 12 (1A) New London volleyball team hosted a big one on Thursday night, as the Tigers welcomed in former head coach Maureen Heath and the No. 9 (3A) West Burlington Falcons.
The Tigers made the Falcons sweat, forcing a tight fourth set in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference South Division showdown, but West Burlington escaped with its undefeated South record in tact, winning 25-9, 12-25, 25-17, 25-20.
It took a while for the Tigers to get started. West Burlington dominated the opener 25-9 despite a flurry of kills from New London sophomore Sophie Malott.
“The first set was really rough,” said New London head coach Lindsey Johnson. “Sometimes when we get into a rut, we have a hard time bouncing back out of it.”
The Tigers fired right back in the second. Malott got the Tigers started early, and New London received service aces from Emma Nye, Elly Manning and Aliyah Christensen in a dominant 25-12 win.
“I would say that’s as good as they’ve played against such a strong team,” Johnson said.
The Tigers held a 6-4 lead after Natalie Burden’s second kill of the third set but West Burlington eventually found its groove. New London led 8-4 in the fourth set but the Falcons clawed past once more.
It was the first visit for West Burlington’s Heath since joining the Falcons before the 2021 season. New London’s first year head coach and Heath’s assistant in 2019-20 says her team was just excited for another tough conference match.
“I think we try to make every game intense, especially these conference matches,” Johnson said. “We knew we really have to go hard on these.”
New London fell to 18-12 with the loss. Its South Division record is 5-3. West Burlington is 27-2, 7-0.