COUNCIL BLUFFS — Council Bluffs St. Albert started with a bang in its first Hawkeye Ten Conference match. Council Bluffs Lewis Central showed how to finish one.
With banners of all its new league members hanging from the rafters and a “Beach Night” theme adding to the atmosphere, the Iowa Class 2-A No. 3 Saintes had more than enough energy in their Hawk-10 debut. But Lewis Central ultimately dealt out an initiation with a 23-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-16 triumph in St. Albert’s gym Tuesday night.
The Titans (4-2, 1-0 Hawk-10) played better later in the final three sets. They ended the second with six straight points and the third with eight in a row. Lewis Central sealed the outcome with a 7-2 run to cap the fourth.
“It’s definitely a great start to the season,” L.C. junior Reghan Coyle said. “We’re really excited to kick off the season playing a team we’ve never played before. It’s a great start to the whole year.”
Coyle was a Swiss Army knife for her side. The 6-footer collected 12 kills, six aces and six blocks to go along with 17 assists. The co-setter uncoiled the match’s final two kills while giving the Saintes (6-1, 0-1) fits at the service line.
Even when the Titans were out of system — a frequent occurrence this early in the season — they often recovered smoothly Tuesday. Sophomore Kaci Hohenthaner finished with 24 assists, distributing the ball when Coyle rotated to the front row.
“Reghan can step in and set and we can run everything we run if she’s not setting,” South said. “If Reghan’s hitting, we can set the ball to her.”
Abby Bergsten, a 6-foot-1 junior, was the recipient of many of those passes, finishing with a team-high 14 kills. Megan Driver added nine and Hannah Shea notched eight. Both earned a trio of key points as L.C. pulled away in the fourth.
“Once we have energy, then we have more momentum; getting point after point really helps us,” Coyle said. “We know we have potential now. We knew we could beat them and we gave it our all.”
Kylie Ferguson boomed a match-best 15 kills but the Saintes — in their sweltering gym — wilted late in just their second day of the season.
Grace Wettengel earned seven kills, while cousin Alli Wettengel (six) and Emily Rindone (five) were close behind for the hosts.
“We rode the roller coaster a little too much in those last three sets,” St. Albert coach Angie Lantz said. “The first set, I thought everything was spot on. But L.C.’s a great team — they’re going to go far this year — and it’s a tough conference.
“The nice thing is that they’re only going to make us better for the postseason. Yeah, everyone wants to win the conference, but the strong play will only do wonders for us down the road.”
CB Lewis Central (4-2) ....... 23 25 25 25
At CB St. Albert (6-1) .......... 25 22 14 16
LC (kills-aces-blocks): Maddie Hamblin 0-0-0, Kaci Hohenthaner 0-3-0, Emily Albertsen 2-0-0, Reghan Coyle 12-6-6, Hannah Dmyterko 0-0-0, Megan Driver 9-0-4, Hannah Shea 8-2-0, Brenna Jones 2-1-0, Abby Bergsten 14-1-1.
SA: Kendall Biggs 0-1-0, Grace Wettengel 7-1-1, Chloe Meyer 0-1-0, Matti Munger 2-3-0, Josie Thomas 4-0-1, Alli Wettengel 6-0-0, Kylie Ferguson 15-2-2, Katie McDonald 0-0-0, Emily Rindone 5-0-1.
Set assists: CBLC, Coyle 17, Hohenthaner 24, Albertsen 1. CBSA, Munger 28, Thomas 3, Ferguson 2, Grace Wettengel 1.