It’s been a place that hasn’t witnessed too much success over the past few years for the Anamosa volleyball program, especially when it comes to the post-season.
But the Raiders were able to exorcise a few demons in Camanche Tuesday, Sept. 14.
“After a long bus ride, playing in a small middle school gym and not even starting play until 8:15 p.m., the girls came out focused and hungry,” said Anamosa volleyball coach Caitlin McVay, who has personally witnessed some of that heartbreak in Camanche over the years, but Tuesday night wouldn’t be another one of those cases as the Raiders cruised to a 25-10, 25-16, 25-20 rout over the Storm.
“We only missed one serve the entire match and our serve receive was consistent, too. We had multiple hitters with eight-or-more kills in a three-set match, which was also impressive.”
Anamosa (9-12, 1-2) hammered home 32 kills as a team in the match led by 11 from freshman Reise Neuhaus on a mere 20 attacks while Cecilia Venenga and Joslin Banowetz added eight kills each. Kala Dietiker chipped in with six kills as Kyra Christensen was busy setting her teammates up coming through with 23 assists.
The Raiders were 73-of-74 serving with eight of them going for aces led by three from Dietiker, who was a perfect 9-for-9 at the line while Christensen (21-of-21 with two aces) and Ava Claussen-Tubbs (18-of-18 with two aces) combined to go 39-of-39 for the Anamosa team at the service line.
“This was the first time we’ve won at Camanche as long as I’ve been coaching here at Anamosa,” McVay said. “We lost to them my first year in the post-season after we beat them at our place five weeks before. Then we lost to them in 2019 during the regular season.
“The fr/so and JV teams also won, so it was a sweep for everyone.”
Banowetz led the Raider defense in Camanche coming up with 11 digs while Maddie Nemmers also reached double figures coming through with 10 more as the team tallied 43 of them on the night. Claussen-Tubbs and Christensen came through with the lone blocks in the match.
Anamosa looked to continue the River Valley Conference winning ways at Iowa City Regina Thursday, Sept. 16, but instead were handed a 17-25, 22-25, 15-25 setback at the hands of the Regals.
“We did some really good things at Regina and played hard,” McVay said. “Regina is arguably the scrappiest team defensively that we have seen all year. They just didn’t let balls drop and we had a tough time finding a way to earn points offensively.
“We made good decisions, but it just wasn’t our night.”
Venenga powered the Raider offense drilling nine kills at the Regal defense while Neuhaus and Claussen-Tubbs added seven more kills each for the visitors.
Christensen set 13 assists while Banowetz was busy in the back row coming through with 22 digs while Nemmers added 15 more.
Anamosa serving struggled drilling just 88-percent over the net while Claussen-Tubbs and Venenga scored the team’s lone service aces.
The Raiders made their annual trip to Lisbon Saturday, Sept. 18, taking part in the Lions’ tournament where they opened up against a talented West Branch team, dropping a heartbreaking 17-21, 21-19, 12-15 decision.
“We started the day against an undefeated West Branch team and were neck-and-neck with them,” McVay said. “That was a fun and exciting match to watch.”
Banowetz’s six kills led the Anamosa offense while Meagan Zasadny (9) and Christensen (7) combined to set 16 assists. Claussen-Tubbs and Neuhaus added four kills each while Dietiker, Christensen and Venenga all chipped in with three kills against the Bears.
The Raiders’ second match of the day saw a tough three-set battle with Midland as Anamosa eventually pulled out a 21-16, 18-21, 15-11 thriller over the Eagles.
“Midland has gotten a lot better since we saw them in the season-opener on Aug. 24 at our place,” McVay said. “It wasn’t our prettiest volleyball, but I was proud to see the girls figure out a way to come together in a tight match and come out on top.”
Anamosa dropped matches against Iowa Valley (19-21, 14-21), class 3A seventh-ranked Burlington (11-21, 13-21) and North Fayette Valley (18-21, 21-18, 7-15) before closing the tournament with an impressive 21-12, 21-11 rout over Mediapolis.
“We ended the long day with a win, which was good,” McVay said. “We played good competition and again I think we got better and consistently stayed more aggressive in tighter situations.”