Iola seeks winning formula on volleyball court

A young, undermanned Iola High volleyball team struggled at its home tournament Saturday. Meanwhile, Crest hopes its efforts against significantly larger schools will pay off as league play hits high gear.

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September 13, 2021 - 8:38 AM

Iola High's Ally Ellis (8) goes up for a kill in the Mustangs' home volleyball tournament Saturday in front of teammates Jenna Curry (21), Dallyn McGraw (7) and Reese Curry (18). Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Iola High’s volleyball team entered the weekend with a key starter sidelined, and four freshmen suiting up.

And with only limited activity so far this season, the Mustangs had a tough go of it Saturday against a loaded Iola Invitational Tournament field.

Iola went 0-4 on the day.

Iola fell to Parsons, 25-17 and 25-12,  to open the tournament.

Then, in a back-and-forth contest that went the full three sets, Crest defeated the Mustangs, 25-21, in the first set before Iola responded with a 25-22 second-set victory.

But the Lady Lancers ended with a flourish, scoring nine of the last 11 points of the match to win the tiebreaker, 25-14.

From there, Iola fell, 25-18 and 25-9 to Paola and 25-17, 25-18 to Anderson County.

Head coach Amanda Holman summed up the experience in two words: “growing pains.”

“A lot of our younger players, whether they want to admit it or not, they’re scared,” Holman said. “At this point, they can’t be scared. They need to get more comfortable, where they’re just reacting and going, and not worrying about who’s beside you.”

Holman praised her triumvirate of seniors, Jenna Curry, Chloe Sell and Ally Ellis.

“We had some really good spurts,” Holman said. “My three seniors put everything on the line. They were everywhere. They never gave up. I couldn’t ask for more than that of them.”

Jenna Curry led the way with 15 kills, hit 25 of 28 serves, had a pair of aces, 10 digs and 1 assisted and two solo blocks.

Kaysin Crusinbery had 21 assists and six digs, while hitting 4 of 5 serves with two digs, four kills, three solo and five assisted blocks and hit 1 of 2 serves.

Jackie Fager racked up eight kills with two solo and three assisted blocks.

Reese Curry hit 10 of 13 serves with two aces, delivered three kills, assisted with four blocks and two solo blocks and had five digs on defense.

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