COUNCIL BLUFFS — This is the volleyball season Elaina Bohnet and Sam Christiansen have been anticipating.
The Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln juniors have been Southwest Iowa Third Degree club teammates since they were 11. But this is Christiansen’s first season as the Lynx’s starting setter.
On Thursday night, the duo clicked like they have for so many years on the club circuit. The 5-foot-8 Bohnet slammed 19 kills and hit a sizzling .667 as A.L. blasted city rival Thomas Jefferson 25-8, 25-14, 25-13 in Missouri River Conference play at the Thomas Jefferson Activities Center.
“I’m so proud of her, because that’s all I wanted,’’ Bohnet said of Christiansen. “Never being the first-string setter, she didn’t always get the attention she deserved. I’ve never had a bad day with her. The chemistry between us two isn’t comparable to anyone else.’’
Before a pair of spirited student sections, A.L. — up to No. 3 in The World-Herald's latest western Iowa large-school ratings — improved to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in the MRC, while the Yellow Jackets dropped to 6-7 and 0-2.
“It’s always fun playing against them,’’ T.J. coach Bonnie Clinch said. “I know a lot of the girls. I know the coach. It’s always a fun game. It’s just unfortunate to roll over like that.’’
In the opener, 5-7 junior Julia Wagoner served 12 straight points — four on aces — to turn an 11-7 A.L. lead into a 23-7 bulge.
Bohnet pounded nine kills in the second set from a variety of angles as the Lynx pulled away after leading just 17-13. And in the third set, T.J. inched within 11-9 on junior Ashlie Knecht’s kill. But Abraham Lincoln ran off 10 of the next 12 points and cruised home in the 60-minute match.
A.L. coach Katie Darrington said she knew what she had at setter in the 5-6 Christiansen. She spent a brief time setting in the Lynx’s 6-2 offense as a freshman, before the team switched back to a 5-1 with Cailey Schaa running the controls for most of the next two years. Schaa is currently starting as a freshman college setter in DMACC’s 6-2 offense.
“She’s been training with Cailey for two years,’’ Darrington said. “These are her hitters she’s been setting. So we were never worried. She’s a kid who watches film, works out, works on her vertical.’’
Promising sophomore Elizabeth Elkins led the Jackets with seven kills, while juniors Torrie Rief and Jenna Midkiff paced the defense with 12 digs apiece. However, the hosts hit just .032 on the night.
“We need to pass better,’’ Clinch said. “And tonight we struggled with just keeping the ball in. It just wouldn’t drop.’’
The Lynx head to the Southeast Polk tournament on Saturday. They’ll meet 5-A No. 11 Southeast Polk, 4-A No. 6 Pella and Des Moines Roosevelt in pool play.
The state ratings came out on Thursday and the Lynx were absent. They lost 16-14 in the third set to 5-A No. 12 Indianola at the Harlan tournament earlier in the season.
“That didn’t help our cause,’’ Darrington said. “We need to go up and make some noise with schools our size. We’ve got to beat some 5-As.’’
CB Abraham Lincoln (6-2, 1-0)..........25 25 25
CB Thomas Jefferson (6-7, 0-2)...........8 14 13
AL (kills-aces-blocks): Elaina Bohnet 19-1-1, Taylan Keefer 0-1-0, Hailey Dizona 0-0-0, Paytyn Bernhards 0-0-0, Sierrah Beaman 0-0-0, Julia Wagoner 5-6-0, Kayla Schleifman 3-0-1, Sam Christiansen 3-0-1, Baylie Girres 3-3-0, Kerragan Baxter 0-0-0, Zoe Lutz 0-0-0, Jillian Shanks 11-1-0.
TJ: Ashlie Knecht 5-2-0, Faith Christensen 1-0-0, Morgan Lesley 0-0-0, Tyanna Carey 1-0-0, Torrie Rief 1-1-0, Elizabeth Elkins 7-1-1, Jenna Midkiff 1-1-1, Victoria Stanfield 2-0-1, Chloe Alley 0-1-0, Ellie Perrine 1-0-0.
Set assists: AL, Christiansen 31, Keefer 2, Wagoner 2, Baxter 1; TJ, Midkiff 15, Rief 3, Knecht 1.