Taller Sergeant Bluff-Luton volleyball team makes short work of Lynx

Abraham Lincoln’s Baylie Girres, right, tries to hit over the block of Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Kenzie Foley, left, and Emma Salker. Foley finished with 17 kills. “She can just about score on demand,’’ Warriors coach Renee Winkel said.

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The days of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln sneaking up on highly touted volleyball opponents likely are over.

Now the Lynx’s task is maintaining a consistent quality effort, even against the state’s elite teams.

That did not happen on Tuesday, as Class 4-A No. 2 Sergeant Bluff-Luton flattened the 5-A No. 12 Lynx 25-14, 25-20, 25-11 Tuesday in a 54-minute Missouri River Conference match at the A.L. Fieldhouse.

“Teams are going to be coming after us now that our name’s getting known,’’ A.L. coach Katie Darrington said. “We just kind of sat back on our heels, and we didn’t go get it.’’

Sergeant Bluff, which sent out seven girls who were on the court in last year’s five-set loss to Dubuque Wahlert in the 4-A state final, improved to 17-2 overall and 4-0 in MRC play. A.L. dropped to 16-5 and 2-1.

The Warriors notched their fourth win over a rated 5-A team in four days. They beat No. 6 Urbandale, No. 7 Ankeny and No. 9 Waukee on Saturday at the Waukee invite, before falling to No. 3 West Des Moines Valley.

“It told them that they can play with anyone,’’ SB-L coach Renee Winkel said. “This group in the first few weeks of the season has really learned how to focus in, regardless of the opponent.’’

Sergeant Bluff has one of the state’s most imposing attacks, and it was on full display Tuesday. Six-foot junior Kenzie Foley led the way with 17 kills, while 6-2 senior Madison Harms, a South Dakota recruit, added 12 and 6-1 junior Elle Sneller had nine.

For the season, all three girls are hitting between .334 and .389, with the powerful Foley averaging 3.98 kills per set to rank ninth in 4-A.

Foley also showed plenty of volleyball savvy, deftly placing several balls into the open court after long rallies. Winkel said she isn’t yet receiving any Division I attention, which surprises her.

“She can just about score on demand,’’ she said. “She sees the court so well. She’s just turned into a beast this last year. ... She’s like having another coach on the floor. She knows exactly what you’re thinking.

“She wants to play, so someone’s going to get a gem there.’’

Winkel said her team’s serving was “on point.’’

“We utilized the short serve, the deep serve, and it took them out of their offense,’’ she said.

A.L. was coming off a strong weekend of its own, going 5-1 to place second in the Red Oak invite at Glenwood. The Lynx beat 3-A No. 8 Mount Vernon, 2-A No. 7 Tri-Center and 2-A No. 8 Treynor before falling to 2-A No. 6 Sidney.

Abraham Lincoln spotted Sergeant Bluff the first six points and wasn’t competitive in the opener. Its chance came in the second set, when it led 16-15 on Taylan Keefer’s ace. But the Warriors scored seven of the next eight points to take control, then cruised in the third set.

Elaina Bohnet, a 5-8 junior, led the Lynx with 11 kills, but no one else could generate a consistent attack against the towering Warriors.

“They’re so tall,’’ Darrington said. “We talked about practices. We need to pick them up. I think they’re starting to see that, all right, we need to get back to where we started, and not settle for 16 wins.’’

Sgt. Bluff-Luton (17-2, 4-0).............25 25 25

At CB Abraham Lincoln (16-5, 2-1)....14 20 11

S (kills-aces-blocks): Brooklyn Huberty 0-0-0, Mia Garnet 0-3-0, Maya Schmidt 0-2-0, Abby Minten 0-1-0, Elle Sneller 9-0-2, Kenzie Foley 17-1-2, Madison Harms 12-0-3, Abby Wisecup 2-0-1, Emma Salker 1-0-2.

AL (kills-aces-blocks): Elaina Bohnet 11-0-1, Taylan Keefer 0-1-0, Julia Wagoner 2-0-0, Kayla Schliefman 3-0-0, Samantha Christiansen 3-0-0, Baylie Girres 2-1-0, Jillian Shanks 3-0-0.

Set assists: S, Schmidt 32, Foley 4, Garnet 1, Harms 1, Wisecup 1; AL, Christiansen 18, Wagoner 3.

Kevin is The World-Herald's lead western Iowa sportswriter, covering about 60 high schools. He's also in charge of the sports department at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs.

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