MARION — With the COVID-19 pandemic and a derecho, you could say Linn County has taken a double whammy in 2020.
The Marion Indians are indirectly affected by both these days, but Tuesday night, you wouldn’t have guessed.
Led by their dual setter/hitter combo of Elisa Mehaffy and Avery Van Hook, the Class 4A fourth-ranked Indians swept No. 6 West Delaware, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21, in a Wamac Conference East Division volleyball match at Vernon Middle School.
“Nothing like trial by fire,” Marion assistant coach Rachel Hauck said.
An assistant in her 10th season at Marion, Hauck was elevated into the role of acting head coach when veteran leader Roxanne Paulsen was quarantined a few days ago due to the coronavirus.
“I wasn’t nervous about the coaching aspect,” Hauck said. “It’s more the other stuff that Roxanne takes care of.”
The Indians (6-1, 1-0 Wamac East) also have overcome displacement from their normal gymnasium, which was damaged in the Aug. 10 windstorm. They are practicing in a second gym at the high school, but their matches will be at Vernon all season.
Mehaffy and Van Hook are in their second season of splitting the setting duties. After all, it would be a waste for either of them not to play all six rotations.
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“We can both set, and we can both swing,” Mehaffy said. “I like doing both. It’s fun to mix it up. It helps my overall game.”
Mehaffy was at her best at the end of the match. With the final set knotted at 20-20, the junior closed it out with kills to represent each of the Indians’ final five points.
She finished with 11 kills and 11 assists.
Peyton Johnson added eight kills, Van Hook distributed 13 assists, and the Indians capitalized on 14 serving errors by West Delaware (9-5, 0-1).
Marion led through the entire first set and scored the final five points to erase a 21-20 deficit in the middle set.
Ava Hauser paced the Hawks with 11 kills. Carlee Smith posted 29 assists.
MARION 3, WEST DELAWARE 0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-21)
At Marion (Vernon Middle School)
Serving: West Delaware 51-65 (.785), Marion 64-74 (.865)
Aces: West Delaware 5 (Kayla Felton 2), Marion 10 (Avery Van Hook, Peyton Johnson 3)
Kills: West Delaware 32 (Ava Hauser 11), Marion 31 (Elise Mehaffy 11)
Assists: West Delaware 31 (Carlee Smith 29), Marion 28 (Van Hook 13)
Blocks: West Delaware 2 (Allie Demmer, Alivia Schulte), Marion 4 (Van Hook 2)
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