Reivers Top NMMI, Panola During Dennis South Memorial Classic

Reivers Top NMMI, Panola During Dennis South Memorial Classic

Courtesy of the Daily Nonpareil


COUNCIL BLUFFS- A two-day, emotionally draining weekend came to an end with the 7th ranked Reiver Volleyball team defeating Number 4 New Mexico Military in four sets 25-15, 25-23, 23-25, 25-14 to close out the Dennis South Memorial Classic. South, an assistant coach for Iowa Western recently passed away. In his honor, Iowa Western re-named The Reiver Festival to the Dennis South Memorial Classic. Iowa Western held a moment of silence before the Reivers' second match on Friday.

"The second match was obviously emotional," Iowa Western coach Alicia Williams said. "They did a moment of silence, everyone wore black and his family was there." It's safe to say Friday was a hard day to get through. Playing two matches in one day, and four in two days is physically demanding. Dealing with the loss of a beloved coach on top of it will mentally drain the best of them. "The first match, honestly, was very hard for me," Williams said. "I'm not a very emotional person, and I felt very emotional during that (Panola) match. It was hard because there were a lot of times I would look back to ask what rotation are they in or just out of habit, saying how many subs do I have. He (Smith) wasn't there, so it was hard."

"I'm trying to put up this strong front for my team. Make sure they're prepared to play the best they can. But, your coach is hurting over here, so it was really hard." In their first match on Friday to 18th ranked Panola, Iowa Western dropped the first two games before rallying to win the next three. Friday night, the Reivers dropped three straight to 3rd ranked Seward County.

On Saturday, Iowa Western lost in five to Colby before winning their last match over New Mexico Military. "I think (New Mexico Military) is a good team," Williams said. "I think that they're solid, and effort is second-to-none. So for us to win, that was huge." Iowa Western and New Mexico Military both lost their first matches of the day. The Reivers lost to Colby while the Broncos lost in three sets to Seward County (3-0 in the tournament).

"I felt like we came back resilient," Williams said. "We played really well together. We flowed together, we came off the net well, went back on the net well and we played really good defense." The Reivers came out strong against New Mexico Military. IWCC made two solid runs with Kelsey Havel serving, helping to control the set from the start. "That's typically our best (rotation)," Williams said. "Kelsey has one of the better serves on the team. She's got a really nice, flat-right over the net serve, and our two big hitters are in the front row with Reka (Kotormon). Typically it's one of our better rotations."

Havel and outside hitter Kortlyn Henderson each tallied five kills in the first set. Henderson added seven more kills in the second set as Iowa Western won 25-23. Toward the end of the second set and into the third, the Reivers offense went a little cold. The Broncos took advantage, winning 25-23.

"We kind of have been living and dying by our pass this whole season and our pass got kind of weak there in the third set," Williams said. "For us, we just had to get our confidence back. In the fourth set, we stuck two in a row, and I was like okay, we're back, we're going to be fine."

Iowa Western closed out the fourth set in convincing fashion 25-14. Henderson led the way for IWCC with 21 kills and two blocks. Havel added nine kills while Genesis Sheridan had seven kills and eight blocks.

Henderson dominated the first two sets with 12 kills.

"I think that was a very fun match to play," Henderson said. "We had a lot of energy. That was the goal to go in with a lot of momentum and energy and keep it throughout the game. Being the underdogs for once, beating them, that was fun."

Iowa Western finished 2-2 over the two days. IWCC defeated 18th ranked Panola and 4th ranked New Mexico Military while dropping matches to Colby and the 3rd ranked Saints.

"We knew going in we could go 0-4 or 4-0, it's that tight," Williams said. "I thought it was good to end the way we did. We kind of want to forget about the Colby match. Seward was a close, tight match. That loss doesn't sting quite as much. Good wins out of Panola and obviously NMMI (New Mexico Military) with only their second loss.

"Today I felt the emotional part of yesterday (Friday) was gone. I think the girls are feeling like themselves again."

The Reivers welcome conference foe Marshalltown to town on Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm, right before Iowa Western's annual basketball tip-off event.

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