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Comets fall to Chickasaws in NEIC opener, go 1-1 while hosting triangular

Comets fall to Chickasaws in NEIC opener, go 1-1 while hosting triangular
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City senior Rachel Chambers attempts to hit through New Hampton blockers Carlee Rochford (No. 13) and Molly Wagner (No. 1) during an Northeast Iowa Conference volleyball match on Tuesday. New Hampton won 3 games to 1.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — There are openers and there are grand openers.

The Charles City Comets volleyball team had already played several varsity matches at home at Comet Gym when it hosted an invitational on Aug. 28.

But the season didn’t really begin until last Tuesday when Charles City hosted Northeast Iowa Conference rival New Hampton.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic and the subsequent attendance rationing, Comet Gym reached about 75% capacity.

But the student sections for both teams were at full capacity. And both were wearing purple-based attire in support of Charles City 2021 graduate and former All-NEIC volleyball player Carly Stevenson, who has been hospitalized since July 25.

The Comets jumped out to an early lead in the first game and never were threatened on the way to going up 1-0 (25-19).

But the Chickasaws’ big hitters began to find their rhythm thanks to sophomore setter Molly Wagner, who had a game-high 38 assists — many of which were perfectly placed in the hitters’ wheelhouses.

Sophomore’s Marissa Cahoy and Hailee Pesek had 12 and 11 kills, respectively, for the Chickasaws.

Rachel Chambers and Kaylee Anderson respectively had 8 and 7 kills; Emma Miller had 11 digs and four blocks; and Mya Rimrod had 10 digs for the Comets.

* On Thursday, Charles City hosted a triangular meet with Clear Lake and Mason City.

The Comets went 1-1 during the night, first defeating the Lions in straight sets (games) by scores of 25-12, 25-16; before losing to the Mohawks 25-19, 25-17 to conclude the meet.

Though the Comets and Lions were tied at 10 in the first game and 11 in the second, Charles City was pretty much in control throughout the match.

Rimrod was credited with seven kills, including two straight when putting away errand Lion pass attempts right at the net.

Anya Ruzicka had 11 assists and Ava Ellis slapped in three aces against the Lions.

Clear Lake and Mason City played the middle match. In the first game, the Lions ruled the court while winning easily. But Mason City took control while cruising to victory in the next two sets/games. In part what turned the match around was the Mohawks’ formidable service game.

In addition to Mohawk junior Ellie Kotta eating up backlines with her hard-sinking serves, other M.C. servers like Jada Williams kept opposing defenses even more off balanced with “change-up” offerings that barely cleared the net while finding unoccupied sections of the floor.

The Mohawks maintained their effective diverse service game against the Comets, which helped them pull away in both games for the sweep as the two wins improved their overall record to 6-2.

The Comets came in with a .500 record and left with a .500 record (4-4), and will be back in action this Saturday at a tournament hosted by Osage.

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