Northeast proved to truly be a group of Rebels, ruining Cascade’s River Valley Conference opener with a five-set win over the Cougars, at Cascade, Sept. 1.
Northeast struggled through a 10-29 season in 2021, but this year’s squad played with poise and confidence in knocking off a Cascade team that had bolted to a 5-1 start this fall.
“One of the things that hurt us all night was that we had trouble finding our groove,” said coach Mary Frake. “When we played MFL and in our tournament last weekend, we had that natural groove, understanding and trusting each other, but tonight, it just seemed it was lacking.”
After Northeast put the first three points of the match on the board, the Cougars managed to tie it up at 3-3, but the Rebels were in control the rest of the way, leading by as many as eight points at 21-13. Cascade managed to claw back to a 23-20 deficit, but a hitting error was good for point 24 and a fourth Cougar service error of the set ended a 25-21 Northeast win.
Set two saw renewed energy from Cascade. It was 2-2 after Shelby Trumm and Addison Frake notched kills, and an ace serve followed by a kill from Corinne Rea saw the Cougars up 5-3.
It was 10-10 following a Northeast service error when Kate Green hit the line, and an eight-serve run that included three Green aces pushed the Cascade lead to 16-11. Rea’s second ace of the game made it 20-13, and kills from Shelby Trumm and Rea followed by a set ending ace serve form Alyssa Lux saw the Cougars even things up with a 25-14 win.
Cascade got off to a slow start in set three, falling behind 4-2 before Brianna Koppes floored a kill to make it 4-3, but three Northeast aces and two ball handling errors on Cascade’s side of the net put the Rebels up 10-4.
The Cascade serving woes continued as Northeast stayed up six, 15-9, but the Cougars made a run on kills by Rea and setter Claudia Noonan to get within four. When Lux aced and Green put down two big kills from the left side to end a 7-2 Cougar rally, it was 17-16.
Northeast went back up by three, 20-17, on two more Cascade service errors, but the Cougars managed to tie it up at 20, 21 and 22 before Northeast hit the outside post on an attack to give the Cougars a 23-22 lead.
The Rebels picked up an unconventional kill to tie it again at 23-23, and got a kill on a Cascade overpass to get to set point before putting the set away 25-23.
“We had some times and opportunities where the trust within our team wasn’t there with balls dropping or missed communications that caused us some issues,” coach Frake said. “We had 17 missed serves. We’re going to be aggressive servers, especially with some of our girls doing jumps, and you’re going to live and die by the aggressive serve. But we also need to menatally prepare ourselves and regain that focus in desperate times and focus on just getting it in rather than trying for the ace.”
Again, the Cougars bounced back, making it look easy in a 25-16 set four win.
After Northeast scored the opening point, Noonan picked up an ace and got everyone involved, as Rea, Addison Frake, Koppes and Trumm picked up kills to put the Cougars up 7-2. Addison Frake had consecutive aces to make it 11-5. The Cougars had it on cruise control, and leading 21-14, a Green ace and three Trumm kills ended things at 25-16.
The Cougars fell behind 4-0 in the decisive fifth set, but came back to tie it 5-5 when Trumm scored again. Northeast managed to lead by three, 10-7, but kills from Rea and Koppes had the Cougars within one at 10-9.
The Rebels scored the next two points, but another Green ace saw Cascade narrow the gap to 12-11. Northeast took advantage of a pair of Cascade offensive errors to move to match point, at 14-11, but Rea scored and Noonan threw down an ace to stay alive at 14-13 before Northeast picked up the final point to win 15-13.
“It’s just a couple little things here and there that are momentum breakers that took us out and gave them the energy. We unfortunately just couldn’t finish, which is frustrating,” said coach Frake. “Northeast attacked the ball very well. They tried pulling line, they tried pulling cross and their middles did a good job of taking our right sides out. They were super aggressive.”
The Cougars will build on this and be the better for it.
“Obviously, we talked about trust and building each other up,” said coach Frake. “If we get out of system we need to designate that second person’s role of who’s going to take charge and who is going to take over. We need to work on a few things here and there just to get some confidence back.”
Cascade’s statistical leaders against Northeast: kills — Rea 18, Shelby Trumm eight, Koppes six, Green five, Addison Frake four, Noonan two; assists — Noonan 34, Rea, Margo Rausch and Addison Frake one; digs — Lux and Noonan 15, Koppes 14, Rea nine, Green five, Addison Frake three, Shelby Trumm two, Addison Trumm, and Rausch one; service aces — Green and Addison Frake five, Rea, Lux and Noonan two, Koppes one; serving efficiency — Rea 19-of-20, Noonan 16-of-18, Green 21-of-25, Lux 10-of-12, Koppes 7-of-10, Addison Frake 10-of-15; team serving — 83-of-100 (83%); team hitting efficiency — 43 kills on 141 attacks with 22 errors (.149).
The Cougars went 3-2 at the Midland Invitational, in Wyoming, Sept 3. In pool play, Cascade opened with a win over Bellevue Marquette Catholic 2-0 (21-6, 21-14).
“We did a lot of good things against Marquette Catholic,” coach Frake said. “I felt we did a great job of keeping them out of system with aggressive serving and attacking.”
The Cougars then dropped matches to Central City, 2-1. Cascade lost the first game , 25-23, won the second, 21-13, and lost the third, 15-11).
“Central City is a very talented, scrappy team. They do a great job defensively and forced us to make mistakes. We had a few things that didn’t go our way during pivotal times in the third set and just couldn’t recover from it,” said coach Frake.
Oelwein defeated Cascade 2-0, 21-19, 21-16.
“We played Oelwein immediately following Central City. We felt as though we played tired against them. Our defense broke down more in this game and we also struggled with our passing more than usual.”
The Cougars ended pool action with a good win over North Cedar, 2-1 (21-16, 20-22, 15-12), and ended the day winning a crossover match with Calamus-Wheatland, 2-0 (21-8, 22-20).
“Against North Cedar, our goal was to shut down their tall outside hitter. I felt as a team we diid a good job getting them out of system and containing her,” coach Frake said. “We came out strong against Calamus-Wheatland and ran a modified 6-2 offense during the first set. During the second set we were able to change some things up and put some different players in positions to gain experience. As always, we have little things we need to get better at.”
Cascade’s statistical leaders at Midland were: kills — Rea 39, Green 28, Koppes 18, Shelby Trumm 15, Addison Frake 11, Noonan one, Lux one; assists — Noonan 91, Molly Roling three, Koppes two, Lux two, Addison Frake and Addison Trumm one; digs — Lux 42, Rea 41, Koppes 23, Noonan 18, Rausch 14, Addison Frake six, Addison Trumm four, Green and Roling three, Maggie McDermott one; blocks — Addison Frake four, Shelby Trumm three, Green two, Koppes, Rea and McDermott one; ace serves — Noonan seven, Green and Lux six, Rea and Koppes three, Frake two.