Cascade broke open a tight match with a 20-2 run in the third set on the way to a 20-25, 25-18, 25-10, 25-18 River Valley Conference volleyball win over Camanche at home, Sept. 5.

“Camanche is always a very good team. They are always going to play hard and play scrappy,” said Cascade coach Mary Frake. “They are a good team to beat and are always well-coached.”

With the Cougars trailing 8-5 in the third, setter Jess Hoffman went on a 14-point serving run that included seven consecutive Camanche hitting or ball-handling errors, and the Indians never recovered, as Cascade improved to 4-2 on the season, while Camanche, without a senior on the roster, dropped to 2-5.

“We had a couple good serves to get started and the momentum came to our side,” Frake said. “We were able to get some good passes and good touches and played with a lot of great effort to take the energy away from them. With volleyball being a game of runs, the consistency is so huge. Sometimes you are up five and then turn around and you’re down seven or eight.”

The Indians took the opening set, breaking loose from a 9-9 deadlock, with outside hitter Tarah Wehde notching four kills, while the Cougars found little offensive rhythm, with 10 hitting errors and three serving errors.

It was a different Cascade team in set two. Abby Welter’s block gave the Cougars a 5-3 lead, and after the teams took turns missing serves, Molly McElmeel’s tip for a point made it 8-7. Brooke Denniston’s ace made the advantage 10-7, and blocks by Welter and Ally Hoffman again made the lead three at 12-9.

A pair of ace serves from Natalie Edfors got the Indians back to even at 14-14, but kills from Welter, McElmeel and Lilly Trumm and an ace from Welter put the Cougars back in control at 19-14. Another Denniston ace and a pair of kills from McElmeel finished the game off.

“We talked about making some adjustments after the first set because I didn’t think our blocking was as strong as it could be,” said Frake. “We were just a little bit slow early, but our front row did a lot better job of getting some touches which allowed for our defensive players to capitalize and get the ball in a good place.”

After the momentum of the match turned in set three, the Cougars raced to an 8-1 lead out of the gate in the fourth set. Aliyah Weber was at the line for a five-point run, including an ace, while Welter’s three kills and an ace from Ally Hoffman made the lead 11-4.

After the Indians made a brief run to get within five at 12-7, McElmeel’s second kill of the set, a block score from Trumm, and an Isabelle Fransen kill put the Cougars up 15-7. An ace from McElmeel had Cascade feeling comfortable at 19-9, but a six-point run by the Indians led Frake to call time out with the score 19-15. Welter’s tip ended the Camanche rally, and Jess Hoffman’s ace serve ended the game, 25-18.

“I was much happier with our tempo and our system tonight compared to last week against MFL,” said Frake. “We seemed more relaxed and more focused and that allowed us to play with more consistency.”

Cascade statistical leaders were: kills — McElmeel and Welter 11, Ally Hoffman and Trumm six, Fransen two, Jess Hoffman one; assists — Jess Hoffman 33, Fransen two, Trumm one; digs — Jess Hoffman 17, Denniston and McElmeel 11, Ally Hoffman seven, Welter six, Weber four; blocks — McElmeel and Welter four, Ally Hoffman and Trumm three, Fransen and Jess Hoffman one; serves— McElmeel 17-of-17, Weber 13-of-14, Denniston 12-of-13, Jess Hoffman 21-of-23, Ally Hoffman 10-of-11, Welter 9-of-15; ace serves — Denniston and McElmeel two, Ally Hoffman, Jess Hoffman, Weber and Welter one.