MOLINE — On a warm Tuesday evening in the historic Wharton Field House, the Galesburg volleyball team gave the Maroons all they could handle, but Moline moved its Western Big 6 Conference winning streak to 23 straight victories over conference opponents. In three sets, Moline defeated the Silver Streaks 23-25, 25-14, and 25-15.
“Whew, what a good match with many, many excellent points,” said Moline coach Sarah Fetter. “Galesburg did a great job on defense, and kept the ball alive with some tremendous digs in the first set, but our team effort and ball control allowed us to pull ahead in the final two sets of the match.”
Moline improved to 6-2, 4-0 in conference play. Galesburg fell to 5-5, 0-3 in the Big 6.
The Maroons were led by Sophia Potter's 26 assists and 15 digs, Kamara Dickerson with 12 kills and eight digs, and Ella Ramsey with eight kills and three digs. Galesburg was led by Madeline Carlson with 12 assists and two aces, Brynn Atwell with 12 digs, and Lauren Livingston with five kills.
The first set of the match opened with the Maroons rolling to a 4-0 lead on the serving of Sophia Potter. Galesburg quickly evened the score behind the strong service of Carlson, and the battle was on.
Big shots at the net by Dickerson, Maddie Peterson and Ramsey allowed the Maroons to pull ahead 14-10, but Galesburg’s ability to dig the ball off the floor and set up its attack at the net sparked comeback after comeback as the score was tied multiple times late in the set.
The Silver Streaks’ Atwell’s work on the floor, and net play of Livingston and Carlson evened the score at 23. With Galesburg leading 24-23, a highly spirited point ended with an errant shot in the net by Moline to give the first set to the Streaks.
“We played really hard and stayed focused in that set, and I’m extremely proud of the way our players moved the ball and got on the floor to dig out shots and set up opportunities to score,” said Galesburg coach Marla Clay. “We are just starting to get into the conference part of our season, and though we lost the match, I was happy with our ability to move the ball and display keen awareness on the court and compete in all three sets.”
Fetter, Moline’s relentlessly calm coach, stressed the importance of eliminating mistakes and concentrating on ball control and serving strategically after the first set loss.
“Our strengths include our ability to dominate at the net and serve with power to spots on the floor, and we were able to get back to the basics and play well as a team in the second and third sets,” said Fetter.
The second set was close until the Maroons ran off eight straight points on the serving of Dickerson to lead 14-6. The front line players for Moline dominated from that point on, set up by the digs and assists of Sophia Potter.
The grudge set of the match proved to be a nearly identical repeat of the previous set, as Moline broke it open with a seven point run fueled by the serving of Nicole Ellis, the offensive prowess of Ramsey, Dickerson and Audrey Lamphier, and the excellent work on the floor by Potter.
“Once you lose the first set, as a coach, you never quite know what to expect for the rest of the match,” Fetter said. “The leadership on our team was outstanding in the final two sets, I couldn’t ask more of Sophia Potter in the way she is able to run the floor, and Kamara Dickerson set the tone for our work at the net.”