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Lady Spartans fall to CCA, CPU

Scrappy Solon volleyball team keeps it close against 8th-ranked Clippers
Junior Emma Harris looks for the ball after hitting the floor against the Center Point Urbana (CPU) Stormin’ Pointers during a quad volleyball meet Aug. 29.

SOLON– There was a lot to like in those two losses for Solon Head Volleyball Coach Sarah Ferin.
“I was very happy with the team, we communicated well, moved the ball around, served well,” Ferin said. “Just a couple hiccups would have made a difference, all of our mistakes are fixable.”
The varsity Lady Spartans opened the season Aug. 29 hosting a quad meet with No. 1 (3A) Mount Vernon, No. 8 (4A) Clear Creek Amana (CCA) and unranked Center Point Urbana (CPU).
Solon dropped 2-1 decisions to CCA and CPU.
“We have a lot of new faces this year, and people playing new positions,” Ferin said. “I was really excited to see how the players kept their cool and lifted each other up when they struggled. The hustle we saw is just the beginning but I know we will see a completely different team out of this group by post season play and that’s exciting.”
The Lady Spartans opened the season against CPU’s Stormin’ Pointers, dropping the first set, 25-21. Solon trailed early by five, narrowed the gap and then fell behind by seven at 22-15 before calling a timeout. The break paid off and the Lady Spartans battled back to 24-21 before running out of points.
They rebounded in the second game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and eventually winning, 25-19, to tie the match.
The Stormin’ Pointers held on for a 16-14 win in the deciding game.
Senior Katie Yi had seven kills to pace Solon, while sophomore Maddie Manifold added five and senior Jane Wilms four. Junior Kennedy Bombei had 18 assists and 11 digs, while junior Sydney Langenberg had 12 digs.
Senior Brookelyn Whitford was 12-15 at the service line with three aces, while Yi was 11-12 with two aces. Junior Emma Harris was 9-9 with two aces and Wilms was 10-11 with one ace. Solon had four blocks led by Yi with two.
The stats improved against CCA. Attack efficiency and serve percentage both increased, although the Lady Spartans still lost, 2-1.
Solon again dropped the first set (25-18) before winning the second (25-23) and kept it close in the final game (15-11).
Yi led the team with nine kills, while Manifold had eight and Wilms seven.
Kennedy Bombei had 29 assists and Langenberg 17 digs (Yi added 10 digs).
Yi (15-16) and Wilms (11-11) each had two aces, while Langenberg was 14-14 at the service stripe.
Freshman Delaney Bombei and Harris each had two blocks.
“We are taking care of the court this year, covering more ground and hitting the floor,” Ferin said. “We had some really amazing hustle plays and that just shows you the heart of this team.”
The defense needs to be cleaned up a little and players need to get to some of those spots sooner, she added, but all can be fixed with a tweak or two.
“This is a very athletic and coachable group that stays focused and works hard for each other,” she said. “We are going to have some hard games this year and having a teammate next to you who always has your back is our focus.”
After a Thursday, Sept. 5, invitational at Marshalltown, the Lady Spartans head to Cedar Rapids Washington for a tournament Saturday, Sept. 7. Solon returns home to host Mount Vernon Tuesday, Sept. 10, and heads to Vinton Thursday, Sept. 12, for a quad meet with Dyersville Beckman and Oelwein.