Every time North Scott’s volleyball team contemplated not putting in that extra hour of work this offseason, Hannah Lindaman kept reliving last season’s tournament loss to Bettendorf.
“It was horrible,” the Lancer senior setter said. “You don’t want to have that happen again, so you work a little bit harder to make sure it doesn’t.”
Even though Tuesday night’s 25-21, 26-28, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13 season-opening triumph for the Class 4A No. 9 Lancers didn’t erase the pain from that five-game regional semifinal defeat, it helped alleviate it.
“This was a big game for us to win considering how we lost to them last year,” North Scott outside hitter Emily Hermiston said. “It made us want this match that much more.”
Just like both meetings last season, the match went five games and took 2 hours to complete.
Ultimately, North Scott’s outside tandem of Hermiston and Erin Mead were the difference.
Hermiston compiled a match-high 24 kills, including six in the final game, and Mead contributed 14 kills and 20 digs.
“Our outsides did a phenomenal job tonight,” North Scott coach Amy Schubert said. “In big points, they stepped up and were terminating the ball extremely well. They were game changers.
“Emily was a workhorse tonight.”
Lindaman, who distributed 54 assists, said the Lancers saw a crack in the Bulldogs’ blocking scheme.
“We had scouted the blockers from Bettendorf and noticed they weren’t all the way out there,” Lindaman stated. “We used it to our advantage.”
Even with all-conference outside hitter and Division-I recruit Caitlin Wernentin not in uniform and two freshmen on the floor, the Bulldogs held their own.
That was pleasing to Bettendorf coach Diane Lichtenberg as North Scott starts all seniors.
Freshman Danielle Pennington registered 13 kills for Bettendorf, while sophomore Katherine Baer and junior Anna Willey each had a dozen. Senior Shelby Brandt ignited the defense with 26 digs.
“We certainly didn’t quit,” Lichtenberg said. “We adjusted to some things that North Scott was doing, but we obviously still have a lot of work to do.
“I thought we played with a lot of character and a lot of heart.”
Behind Hermiston, North Scott surged out to a 7-3 cushion in the fifth game.
“I’m glad our setter recognized I was doing pretty well,” Hermiston said. “When somebody is up, you just want to keep feeding them the ball. (Hannah) is amazing.”
Bettendorf tried to mount a charge and pulled within 14-13, but a Bulldogs service error ended the match.
“Both of North Scott’s outsides played very well,” Lichtenberg said. “Our block wasn’t getting the job done, but I feel like we should be a good blocking team. We have the size.
“They took it to us on the outside, but we’ll keep working at it.”
North Scott, however, realizes this is just a starting point for a squad with lofty aspirations.
“We need to keep getting better,” Lindaman said. “If we stay still, we won’t do as well or have the season that we want here.”