Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
NEW LONDON — The year was 2014. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” was the No. 1 song in America, the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie had just been released, and the Iowa Wesleyan volleyball team was beginning the year with a new head coach.
Coach B.J. Carter (Wagy) had just two seniors on her 2014 Iowa Wesleyan squad. One of those was starting setter Lindsey Johnson. Flash forward seven years later, and the two of them were going head-to-head as coaches on the high school scene.
On Thursday night, Johnson’s 12th-ranked (1A) New London squad swept Carter’s Van Buren County team. The Tigers won sets 25-10, 25-5 and 25-11.
“It was very fun,” Johnson said. “It's always good to see volleyball friends out and around.”
Carter described her former player a great setter who surprised people with her blocks, despite a height disadvantage. She talked about competing against her former player after the match.
“It's always fun to see former players and to see them coaching,” Carter said. “Lindsey and I got to chat before the game, and it's always great seeing her around.”
The Tigers controlled all three sets to bounce back after playing three ranked teams in the five days leading up to Thursday’s game with New London.
“We did a new rotation today, and I thought that definitely helped,” said New London junior hitter Natalie Burden. “We just need to keep playing together, and not get down on ourselves.“
The Tigers built a double-digit lead in the first set and cruised from that point on. New London opened with a 14-2 lead in the second set and a 6-0 run in the third, which included a pairs of aces from Emma Nye.
“We're still trying to figure out what works,” Johnson said. “But I think we got our offense going a lot better tonight.”
Van Buren County was in its first game with a full roster after the school was held back with COVID-19-related absences in the last couple of weeks. The Warriors had a tough time stopping New London runs, though they did stage a minor comeback in the third, on the back of three kills from Shae Scott, before the Tigers closed it out.
“New London is definitely a defensive team,” Carter said. “They're really good at passing, and they stick with it. They were really tough defensively.”
New London moved to 15-10 with the win. Van Buren County is now 3-9.