DYERSVILLE, Iowa — West Delaware may be two classes larger than Dyersville Beckman, but make no mistake — teams taking the floor against the Trailblazers need to bring their A-game if they hope to come out of Dyersville with a win.
In that respect, Thursday night was quite satisfying for the Hawks.
Senior setter Macey Kleitsch had a match-high 43 assists and Iowa Class 4A No. 5 West Delaware handed 2A third-ranked Beckman its first home loss of the season, 25-18, 21-25, 25-22 and 25-19, during the Blazers’ senior night.
Kleitsch ran another well-balanced attack for the Hawks (31-3), which kept the Blazers (34-6) on their toes the entire night. Allison Collier, Kinley Kolbet and Ava Hauser each finished with double-digit kills for West Delaware, and it was anyone’s best guess (except Kleitsch’s) as to where the ball was going next.
“We got into a lot of long rallies and we were able to create tempo for ourselves. And with tempo, you create a lot of havoc on the other side,” said Hawks coach Brett Mather. “We don’t want you to be able to just focus on one player on our side there. … Our middles are doing a fabulous job and we got a lot of production out of our right side hitter in Hauser tonight.
“It was a great team effort. Hats off to all of our players because they did a nice job against a very, very good Beckman team.”
Kleitsch served West Delaware to a 5-0 lead to start Set 1 and the Hawks didn’t trail for the remainder of the opening frame. A kill by Jada Wills cut Beckman’s deficit to 21-18 before a kill by Alivia Schulte gave serve back to West Delaware. Kleitsch stepped back to the service line for the final three points, clinching Set 1 with a dump-kill.
The Blazers appeared to settle in better in the second set with two straight kills by Kiersten Schmitt sparking a 6-1 Beckman run for a 9-4 lead to open Set 2. Back-to-back Hawks errors pushed Beckman’s lead to 20-13, and while West Delaware made a late push, Wills’ kill on set point tied the match at a set apiece.
It was another tight battle to start Set 3 until Schulte’s kill sent the Hawks off on a 6-1 run for a 17-10 lead. The Blazers scored three late to get within 24-22, but following a West Delaware timeout, Hauser smashed one from the right side to give her team a 2-1 lead in the match.
“We knew that (Beckman) was going to be very good, so we knew that we had to play our game and control our side,” said Kleitsch, who also finished with three aces and six kills. “They have some very good hitters who can put the ball away, so we knew we had to bring it because they were going to bring it to us.”
The two teams played to a 9-9 tie at the start of Set 4, when Collier sided out with a slide-kill. She stepped back to the line and ripped off six more points, including back-to-back aces, and the Hawks’ lead ballooned to 16-9.
Beckman never got within four after that. A kill by Miah Winkowitsch pushed West Delaware to match point and the Hawks clinched the victory two plays later on Nell McDermott’s missed serve.
“I’m very disappointed with our passing game tonight. It just took us out of our offense and made it difficult on our setters,” said Blazers coach Todd Troutman. “We just didn’t get very many balls to swing at and you can trace it back to them serving very, very tough and us not passing well.”
Wills finished with a match-high 15 kills and Schmitt added 11 to lead Beckman.
Collier led the Hawks with 13 kills and four aces, followed by Kolbet and Hauser with 10 kills each.