Chemistry key for Remsen St. Mary’s in sweep of West Sioux
REMSEN – Chemistry was so important as last winter’s Remsen St. Mary’s girls basketball team went 21-3 and reached the Class 1A regional championship game. The same was true with last summer’s 27-4 softball team that competed at the Class 1A state tournament.
Mya Bunkers supplied 10 kills, 17 assists and three ace serves while Claire Schroeder added nine kills as the Hawks are off to a 4-0 volleyball start (2-0 WEC) for the first time in several years with contributions from many of the same athletes from those two sports.
Whitney Jensen supplied four ace serves and two blocks during Tuesday night’s 25-16, 25-21, 25-19 War Eagle Conference sweep over West Sioux at the Jerry and Marlene Harpenau Family Gym.
“We have been playing sports together since fifth grade,” said Claire Schroeder. “We’re close. We get each other. We have good chemistry. When we are on, we can run the fast plays. Then, everything clicks.”
Not everything clicked on a night where Remsen St. Mary’s fans wore red t-shirts to remember Dave Harpenau, the father of assistant coach Melissa Jensen and grandfather of middle hitter Whitney Jensen, who had passed away Tuesday.
“Tonight wasn’t a picture-perfect moment,” said Remsen St. Mary’s head coach Stacy Bunkers. “This year versus last year, there’s such a variety of hits we can do. We can do 1’s. We can do 2’s. We can do 3’s. We can do 4’s. We can do 5’s. We had good passes tonight, but we were in our own heads. We have a lot of girls with a lot of things going on in their minds now with personal things we are fighting through as a team. I hope that is part of the reason we were the way we were.”
Gracyn Schroeder also dished 17 assists for an offense that experienced uncharacteristic hitting errors. En route to the Hawks’ fourth sweep of the season, they opened up a 15-8 Game 3 lead as Carmindee Ricke (6 digs, 2 ace serves) went on a 6-point serving run where she had two consecutive aces at one point. A few minutes later, the combination of Claire Schroeder’s kill and Jensen’s ace was good for an 18-9 lead.
However, Addi Dekkers, the younger sister of Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers, launched a pair of kills to begin a run that pulled West Sioux (1-8, 1-1 WEC) within 19-17.
The Hawks’ second-year head coach called a time out following two straight hitting errors and her team clinging to a 21-19 advantage.
“We needed to focus on getting our hits in,” said Claire Schroeder. “We were really struggling with our hits getting in. We weren’t worried about getting kills, but just getting the ball in so we could play it out.”
Claire Schroeder and Ricke recorded consecutive kills to begin Marina Cronin’s 4-point serving run, which included the last of the Hawks’ 13 aces. Jensen’s kill ended the match. Halle Galles contributed eight digs and two ace serves for a squad that served 93 percent. Coach Bunkers said she “couldn’t ask for better chemistry” from a squad which knows what they need to work on prior to this Tuesday’s match at No. 11 (Class 2A) Hinton.
“I am so happy with the girls and their attitudes,” she said. “I like their willingness to work. We ended the night by saying what we needed to work on. They all knew. We’re going to work on hitting. A ton of hitting. Hitting, hitting, yes.”