The Dowling Catholic volleyball players had no desire to be a part of Dave Whims’ 1,000th career win.
The legendary Ankeny coach was hoping to reach the historic milestone on Tuesday, but the host Maroons had some other ideas. Fifth-ranked Dowling avenged an earlier loss with a 25-15, 25-22, 25-22 victory over the No. 2 Hawkettes in the CIML Central Conference opener for both teams.
“I thought they played a little better defense,” Whims said of the Maroons. “They served the ball really tough, and they passed really well. They’re bigger than us, so we were scrambling to make the most of it. They’re just a stronger team than we are.”
Grace Evans pounded 13 kills and Anna Godfredsen added 11 as Dowling improved its record to 14-7 on the season. Anna Flynn added 16 digs and five aces.
“They were passing well and hitting well,” said Ankeny senior outside hitter Isabelle Vacek. “They were really in system.”
After Dowling dominated the first set, the next two sets went down to the wire. The Maroons scored the final three points to break a 22-22 tie in the second set, then rallied from a 17-13 deficit in the third set and closed out the match on a kill by Mira Baccile down the middle.
“Their passing was on and they were serving tough, and we just couldn’t keep up at some points,” Vacek said. “That got them some runs.”
The Hawkettes dropped to 17-3 overall.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t go to state. It doesn’t really mean anything,” Whims said of the loss. “(Dowling) is just a quality team that allows us to measure where we are in the season and what we need to improve on. I feel really good about our effort, and we were right there in all three sets, especially the last two. Just a couple balls bounce a different way and maybe the scores go the other way. That’s the way volleyball is–it’s a game of momentum.”
The Hawkettes had defeated Dowling, 21-13, 21-14, at the Marge White Valley Invitational on Sept. 7.
“I’d say revenge was a pushing point for them,” Vacek said.
Ankeny had seven aces in the earlier match. Mallory Luther recorded back-to-back aces in the third set of Tuesday’s match, but the Maroons regrouped and battled back to earn the sweep.
“We served really tough in the first match, and they weren’t passing as well,” Whims said. “Tonight, they passed everything right on target.”
Both Vacek and libero Kaci Behrens were back in Ankeny’s lineup after suffering injuries during the Caroline Found Extravaganza on Saturday at Iowa City West. The two players collided during the Hawkettes’ win over Des Moines Hoover and sat out the rest of the tournament.
“We thought we might have concussions, but we were both cleared to play,” Vacek said.
Malea Daugherty led the Hawkettes with nine kills. Vacek and Phyona Schrader each had eight kills, while Behrens racked up 14 digs.
Ankeny will compete in the Waukee Invitational on Saturday, giving Whims another chance to reach the 1,000-win mark.