Corinne Meier wasn’t expecting to reach a milestone on Tuesday night.
But her last kill of the evening couldn’t have come at a better time for the Dubuque Hempstead volleyball team.
Meier’s scored her 24th kill of the night on match point to lift her Iowa Class 5A No. 9 Mustangs to a thrilling five-set victory over Western Dubuque in Moody Gymnasium — 15-25, 25-22, 25-10, 24-26 and 15-13.
That final swing also served as Meier’s 1,000th career-kill in a Hempstead uniform, making another hard-fought victory over the Bobcats extra special.
“I couldn’t have done it obviously without my teammates,” said Meier, who also had a match-high 52 swings. “We played tough today. We knew Western Dubuque was going to be tough.
“I think we showed how good we truly are.”
A starter since her freshman season, Meier, now a senior, has been at the center of the Mustangs’ offense throughout her career. She was second on Hempstead in kills her freshman and sophomore seasons and took over the team lead last year as a junior. This year, she’s again the Mustangs’ top swinger, and that showed especially late in Tuesday’s match against WD.
If there was a play to be made, Meier was there to make it for Hempstead (11-1-1). It’s been that way for a while.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her. Over the last two years that I’ve had the opportunity to coach her, she has transitioned into so much more than just a heavy arm,” said Mustangs coach Jacque Arensdorf. “She brings so much heart and soul to our team. The girls look to her when things are down. They look to her when things are up. She’s just a force to be reckoned with.”
Whenever Hempstead and WD get together, recent history shows its going to be a hard-fought battle. Last year, these same teams opened with another five-set thriller at Moody, again with the Mustangs on the winning side.
It was a rough, rough start for the home team though. The Bobcats (10-6, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A), used an 8-1 run to start the match and in the midst of a seven-point swing for WD, starting Hempstead middle Leah Moeller went down with an apparent shoulder injury. Moeller was replaced by Emma Daughtee and was later seen with her left shoulder in a brace the rest of the match.
The Bobcats also were missing a key starter in Meredith Bahl, who hasn’t played since WD’s four-set win over Dubuque Senior on Sept. 3. Nonetheless, the Bobcats were able to cruise to a 25-15 opening-set win, and looked poised to compete in Set 2 tied at 20-apiece.
A kill by Ashley Glennon gave advantage to the Mustangs, and Morgan Hawkins served four straight to put her team up, 24-20. Glennon then clinched Set 2 with a kill on the outside and tied the match at a set apiece.
Meier then served Hempstead on a 10-0 run in Set 3, the highlight of a 25-10 thrashing and a 2-1 lead in the match for the Mustangs.
“There’s lots we can learn. We can look at Game 3 and make sure that that doesn’t happen,” said WD coach Megan Scherrman. “But then we can look at games 4 and 5 and be proud that we battled for every point. We never gave up, we stayed confident in ourselves, so there’s stuff to take from both ends.”
From Set 4 on, both teams played like every last point was a crucial one. Neither team could stake more than a three-point advantage in the fourth, with the Bobcats using a three-point run to go to set point, 24-23. Meier re-tied the set with a kill from the back row, but Libby Lansing answered with a kill of her own for the Mustangs, and WD clinched the fourth set on a Hempstead error, 26-24.
It was back and forth again to start the fifth, with WD clinging to a 12-11 lead. Becca Lockwood and Meier had back-to-back kills and Grace Daack had an ace to put the Mustangs to match point, 14-12.
Two plays later, Meier reached kill No. 1,000 on an outside-pin swing that she crushed cross, glancing off a Bobcats player for the win.
Glennon and Lockwood had 11 kills apiece, Hawkins finished with 46 assists and Meier had a match-high 26 digs. Maddy Maahs finished with 42 assists, Maddie Harris added 19 kills and Meg Besler finished with 17 to lead WD.