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Redhawks short out Bolts to reach Regional semis

October 25, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

The Redhawks began their quest for a second consecutive State berth as they hosted the Baxter Bolts for Regional volleyball action on Monday, Oct. 22, taking the win at home 3-0.

Coming out rusty from the start after having not played since Saturday, Oct. 13, the Redhawks struggled with serving and errors to give Baxter a slight lead in the first set.

"I feel our start had to do with us not playing a match in 10 days," coach Channing Halstead said. "We try to mimic the scenario in practice, but I wasn't too worried because most of our mistakes were nerves and again having not been in a game situation for awhile. The missed serves, the hitting errors, that happens with this scenario. I want us to talk more because when you're communicating, you're confident. We shook it off, but I want to see serving improve."

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Takoa Kopriva tallied seven digs and went eight of nine serving against the Baxter Bolts on Monday, Oct. 22 in the secound round of Regionals in Traer.

The Redhawks struggled off the nerves after two straight aces from Madison Stoneking gave North Tama a 9-8 lead which they never surrendered on their way to a 25-14 win in the first set.

"Madison [Stoneking] came in with a few aces and that's her job," Halstead said. "Her goal is to be back there for three or four points as her role. She got us going in that first set and we needed that to settle in and put us in our comfort zone."

Though the Bolts proved to be an improved team from their earlier trip in Traer for conference play, North Tama controlled the next two sets more evenly. Both sets ended in a 25-14 decision as the Redhawks will continue their postseason.

"In our huddle after the game, we said we're going to have to bring more intensity on Thursday and play a better game," Halstead said. "Our talking and our serving are what I'm taking away from this game. We took care of tipping really well. We've been through every scenario going into this game and we've done it together. These girls have played with each other over the winter and this season, which will pay dividends in this next game and hopefully more after that."

Katie Kopriva led the way offensively with 10 kills on the night along with nine digs, 12 of 12 serving and four aces. Karly Jans put together nine kills, five digs, went 16 of 16 serving and had four aces; plus Abby DeBoef and Carlie Gorder both had five kills apiece for the Redhawks. Isabel Sierra had 23 assists in the game for North Tama.

"I feel our sets were a bit high and they'll see it tomorrow when we go over the video," Halstead said. "We should have given the ball to Katie a little more early on because she can get us going. Those two do a lot of our scoring, but Carlie Gorder does well in practice all of the time and we'll need her down the road along with Abby [DeBoef]."

One player that drew much praise from Halstead was Takoa Kopriva, who had another strong night with seven digs, eight of nine serving and two assists to led the struggling defense over the Bolts.

"Takoa really gets going in the game hitters are really wailing at her," Halstead said. "She lives for those types of games and doesn't get enough attention for what she does. Every team wishes they had a Takoa on their team, who is our rock on the team."

All attention over the next three few days will focus on a very familiar opponent and the Redhawks key to the Regional Final: Gladbrook-Reinbeck. The Redhawks and Rebels have already competed three times this season, with North Tama taking all three wins. This match will be the second the two rivals have faced each other in Traer and Halstead has one though going into this game.

"They have to beat us," Halstead said. "Last time at their place, when it went to five sets, we didn't hit well and missed 15 serves, and we gave them a lot of points total. Two sets worth in our own errors and missed serves. If we clean up all of those issues, we are confident against them. We won't change up much about our game, we know what they are going to do. We need to make them beat us."

The Regional semi-final will be held on Thursday, Oct. 25 in Traer beginning at 7 p.m. The winner will travel to Boone on Tuesday, Oct. 30 for the Region 3 Finals. The victor in Boone will qualify for the State Tournament in Cedar Rapids on November 6. For coverage of Thursday's game, follow Editor CJ Eilers on Twitter @cjeilers. Only the final score will be posted on The Traer Star-Clipper Facebook page.



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