Unity Christian tops Gehlen Catholic in matchup of No. 6 ranked teams

Thursday, September 8, 2022
(Photo by Charlie Hildebrand) Gehlen Catholic’s Lynsey Reuter plays the ball at the net in the team’s War Eagle Conference match against Unity Christian on Tuesday. The Knights won in straight sets over the Jays.

ORANGE CITY — Class 3A No. 6 ranked Unity Christian hosted Class 1A No. 6 ranked Gehlen Catholic on Tuesday in an early season matchup of War Eagle Conference contenders. The Knights came away with the 3-0 sweep as they stretched their conference winning streak to 90 matches.

The Knights won by set scores of 25-14, 25-21 and 25-16.

“Overall, I thought we played a tough game against Unity,” Gehlen Head Coach Dan Goebel said. “We knew it would be going into the night, and I was impressed with how well we played, overall. I was especially happy with our serving, which put their offense out of system at times.”

The team was able to get a few ace serves to fall against the Knights. Aurora Goebel had two aces and Miyah Whitehead added another for the Jays. Still, the Knights were even more successful at the service line with nine aces. Haley Kuperus led the way with three aces. Jadyn Hofmeyer and Paige De Boom each had two.

The Knights hit .307 as a team for the match with a pretty balanced attacking night. Gracie Schoonhoven led the way with eight kills, one more than Tyra Schuiteman.

The Jays matched with eight kills from Whitehead and seven from Aurora Goebel. Cadence Goebel was next for the Jays with three kills while Jayden Barthole added two more. The difference in kills after the top two for both sides proved to sway in favor of the winning team as Kuperus had five and Hofmeyer finished with four as next on the team. Molly Zylstra and Aubrey De Groot added three kills apiece for the Knights.

“We stayed neck and neck with them at different moments throughout the night, but between our errors and their hitting and serving, we couldn’t prevail,” Goebel said.

The Knights also had the advantage at the net with blocking. Kuperus led the Knights with two solo and five assisted blocks. Whitehead led the Jays with one solo block.

Aurora Goebel led all players with 11 digs. Jasmine Lubben, Larissa Pohlen and Whitehead all ended with six digs for the Jays.

Unity improved to 3-4 with the win and 1-0 in conference play. The four early losses for the Knights all came at a tournament at West Des Moines Valley against teams from Class 5A as they also beat a pair of 5A schools.

Goebel said it was a good learning experience for his team to face a team which has played top competition.

“They are a team I always enjoy playing because I know it is going to be competitive and action packed and there is much to learn from those matches,” Goebel said.

Gehlen fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference with the loss.

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