Washington Evening Journal
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SIGOURNEY — If Makenzie Jackson was in a slump with her serving, she should be over it after Keota’s Monday match against the Warhawks.
The South Iowa Cedar League volleyball tournament had North Mahaska facing Keota in pool play. Keota lost 3-0 to the Warhawks. North Mahaska then faced Sigourney and won 3-1 (17-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21) to advance to Thursday’s finals at an unknown site.
Sigourney has a 14-12 record while North Mahaska is 17-12. Keota is 7-15.
Jackson has a vicious line drive for a serve and served an ace in the third set to get Keota within 13-10. Another ace made it 13-12 and also made a Warhawk player leave the match with a bloody nose.
“She has been struggling with her serving lately,” Keota head coach Debra Swantz said. “That should help her get back into it.”
The Eagles led in all three sets before falling 25-20, 25-16, 25-22.
Trailing 4-0 to start the night, Keota led 6-5 on a Nicole Clarahan ace. Down 18-12, Madison Scott hit consecutive kills (she had seven total) to get the Eagles within 21-20. Taylor Kindred delivered one of her six kills for an 8-4 lead in the second set.
An early third set lead turned into a 19-14 deficit, but a Jackson kill and a Macie McDonald kill brought the Eagles to within 23-21. The longest rally of the night followed and ended on a Keota error.
Cassie Swantz, McDonald (16 assists) and Nicole Clarahan all had more than 20 digs apiece for Keota.
“We are just missing fire,” Swantz said. “It’s the finishing we struggle with.”
Although the Eagles did not win a set, improved play is obvious, if nothing else just by score comparison. The regular season meeting between the Warhawks and Eagles was 25-11, 25-13, 25-13.
“We were getting to our spots, which we really studied (North Mahaska) to know where they liked to hit,“ Swantz said. ”We are working on some things and we are getting there.“
The postseason starts Monday for the Eagles with a match at WACO (19-12).
“They move really well,” Swantz said of the Warriors, who she scouted at Washington’s tournament Saturday when WACO placed second.
Swantz is determined to improve Keota’s future on the court.
“We are going to spend a couple years to build the culture because it is a mindset, it really is,” Swantz said.