Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The main concern for Ellie Evans and her City High classmates entering Tuesday’s senior night matchup with Cedar Rapids Prairie was surviving an emotional opening set.
It wasn’t the first set that ended up being the problem for City High on Tuesday it was everything that happened after the opening set.
Class 5A No. 11 City High rolled to an opening-set win but couldn’t maintain its strong start in a 11-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21 loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie on senior night at City High.
City High dropped to 19-10 on the season and 4-3 in Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division play.
“I am actually surprised that it started the way that it did just because of everything else going with senior night,” Evans said. “It always seems like in those big matches like senior night you need to get that first set out of the way.”
Evans had a match-high 17 kills and fellow senior Mackenzie Murphy had 15 but it wasn’t enough as City High lost for just the third time in its last 15 matches.
Prairie senior Rachael Kilpatrick had 14 of her team-high kills in the final three sets and teammate Kylee Oldenburger had all 11 of her kills over that span as Prairie rallied to improve to 15-17 and 4-3 in MVC Mississippi Division matches.
“Our passing kind of broke down in sets two, three and four where we were lights out passing in the first set,” City High coach Tricia Carty said. “That made all the difference.”
City High was razor sharp from the opening serve in an impressive 25-11 win in the opening set.
The Little Hawks opened the match with nine consecutive points and led 21-5 when an Evans kill capped an 8-1 run.
“It felt good, we were flowing, we were running our combos that we’ve been working on in practice,” Evans said. “Everything was just clicking.”
Five different Little Hawks had a kill in the opening set that also featured three City High ace serves and a pair of ace blocks.
City High had 15 kills in the opening set, five from Murphy and four from Evans.
“Senior night there is always an element of unknown because there is all that emotion that goes in before, I said we will see how we react and I was incredibly pleased set one,” Carty said. “We came out and we were executing, we were disciplined and we were passing on the money. They made a few adjustments after that and we weren’t able to bring our ball control back.”
City High led 5-2 early in the second set but Prairie scored the next four points to take a 6-5 lead and never trailed again.
The Hawks pulled away for a 25-16 win in the second set and City High was never fully able to get back in sync.
“I think our communication went downhill and it started with our passing,” Evans said. “I know personally I felt like I couldn’t get a pass up and that affected my communication. I just came down to communication and passing.”
City High still had its chances.
The Little Hawks led 15-12 in the third set but Prairie used a 6-1 run to take a 18-16 lead and then scored four straight points to break a 19-all tie on its way to a 25-21 win.
In the fourth set City High saw a 14-11 lead slip away as Prairie used a 7-0 burst that featured three ace blocks by senior Alison Kraciun.
“We couldn’t establish our middle and then open up our pin hitters and then there was a little bit of panic when things weren’t going the way that we typically execute,” Carty said. “Prairie just kept staying aggressive and attacking and attacking and we didn’t adjust the way that we needed to.”
Both teams return to action on Saturday at the 16-team MVC tournament at Waterloo East.
“I am hoping that this is just something that we flush,” Evans said. “We need to get rid of it and move on so we can focus on what is next.”
Cecilia Aldrich-Ingram 7-0-1, Lindsey Bolton 0-1-0, Joslyn Becker 0-0-1, Ellie Evans 17-0-0, Kelsey Law 12-1-0, Mackenzie Murphy 15-2-0, Mia Loughran 2-0-1, Makayla Ribble 0-1-0, Team 53-5-3.
Assists – Makayla Ribble 23, Lindsey Bolton 18, Kelsey Law 1, Brooke Bormann 1, Mackenzie Murphy 1
Bailey Rima 1-0-0, Kylee Oldenburger 11-1-0, Kobie Blaha 0-2-0, Alison Kraciun 0-1-4, Alexis Moses 7-0-2, Gracie Velky 1-0-1, Rachael Kilpatrick 16-1-1, Haley Ikeda 0-1-0, Team 36-6-8.
Assists – Haley Ikeda 27