Trojans impress in season openerFairfield goes 2-1 at quadrangular
The Trojan volleyball team came into Thursday’s Steve Heisel Quadrangular uncertain of just how competitive they would be.
After losing 10 seniors from last year’s team, Fairfield walked into the gym without clear-cut go-to scorers and a lineup that coach Nancy Diers is still toying with. The walk out was much different. Powerful kills from sophomore Shelby Heston, improving front line play and timely digs from libero Kaylee Watson all contributed to Fairfield opening its season with a 2-1 record.
Fairfield came out firing against Albia (1-4) in the first match of the night. Molly Ryan and Madison Roberts led the team in kills with eight and seven, respectively, as Fairfield hammered home its first victory of the season in straight sets, 25-11, 25-17.
“It was a nice first match for us,” Diers said. “We had all-encompassing goals going in, like play for each point and compete. We feel we played good enough that we could cross off our goals by the end of the night.”
Diers sited aggressiveness as something this group needed to improve on before the regular season began. Fairfield was anything but passive the entire evening. Heston smacked six kills and Delaney Neil had five of her own against the Lady Dees.
“Our kids were aggressive,” Diers said. “They were helping each other to the point where they were almost running into each other. I liked the enthusiasm.”
Next up was Class 2A No. 4 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (Fairfield is in Class 4A). The Trojans took an early lead in game one, but the Rockets used their length advantage and smooth play to pull ahead. EBF kept a steady lead during set two, and would go on to take the match 25-20, 25-18.
“We knew coming in [EBF] would pass well and that they’d have power,” Diers said.
Juniors Karlie Taylor and Taylor Leffler, both 6-feet tall, led the Rockets attack. EBF went 3-0 at the quad, beating Albia 25-11, 25-17, and taking down IMS 25-19, 25-10. It was EBF’s first action of the season.
Heston led the squad with seven kills. Watson would total 67 digs on the night, and got 28 against the Rockets. Kelsey Roberts and Jolea Burkhart both had 10 digs. Mackenzie Flattery, who played back row defense efficiently throughout the quadrangular, had nine digs.
Fairfield cruised past IMS 25-19, 25-10 in its third match. Alexis Ring finished second on the squad with 13 digs, while Madison Roberts led the team with seven kills. Ryan, Neil and Heston were each active around the net and took of advantage of their length advantage over IMS consistently.
“I think each of our hitters did better than they’ve done in practice so far,” Diers said. “Their selection was great all night, and it’s nice that the aggressiveness finally showed up on game night.”
Fairfield will play next at Mt. Pleasant on Thursday. This will be the Southeast Conference opener over both teams. The Panthers won the SEC last year with a 29-5 record, and have been ranked No. 15 in Class 4A to open the season. Mt. Pleasant won both matches over Fairfield 3-1 last season.
Final Scores – Steve Heisel Quadrangular
Fairfield over Albia 25-11, 25-17
EBF over Fairfield, 25-20, 25-18
Fairfield over IMS 25-19, 25-10
EBF over Albia 25-11, 25-13
EBF over IMS 25-10, 25-20
IMS over Albia 25-12, 25-16