Prep Volleyball

Cedar Rapids Kennedy's rookie head coach, veteran team win volleyball season-opener

Cougars play relatively clean match, sweep Prairie

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s probably better to have a new coach and a veteran team than vice versa.

And Robin Fonck isn’t really a new coach, anyway.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy showed its experience and swept Cedar Rapids Prairie, 25-19, 25-16, 25-19, in a Mississippi Valley Conference cross-divisional volleyball match Tuesday night at Kennedy High School.

“We have high expectations and big goals,” said setter Abby Feldmann, one of six senior starters. “Our motto this year is ‘Stay Together,’ and this match encompassed that.”

Kennedy (1-0) played the cleaner match, by far. For example, the Cougars served 91.9 percent, compared to 74.5 percent for the Hawks.

Tuesday’s match was the first as head coach for Fonck, who had served as an assistant for Michelle Goodall the previous nine years.

Nerves?

“Sure,” Fonck said. “Yeah, you bet.”

But the Cougars’ experience quickly put any jitters to rest. Prairie’s final lead in the match was 4-3 in the opening set.

“When you introduce a new coaching staff, it brings excitement and energy to the program,” Fonck said. “The kids came out and were really ready to go.”

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Kennedy held a 16-15 edge in the opener, then scored five straight points to break it open. The Cougars scored seven in a row — highlighted by consecutive aces by Shayla Dralle — for an 11-3 advantage in the second set, then a pair of kills by Sadie Powell sparked a five-point surge for a 13-7 lead in the finale.

Katie Jensen led a balanced attack with nine kills. Powell, Molly Joyner and Kelsey Jaeger contributed six apiece, and Feldmann distributed 29 assists.

All in all, a very good start to a new era. Kennedy is coming off back-to-back sub-.500 seasons.

“With so many seniors, it really comes to our benefit,” Feldmann said. “We know how the game rolls, and it gives us an edge.”

Alexis Moses paced the Hawks with 13 kills. Kylee Oldenburger added eight.

CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 3, CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-19)

At C.R. Kennedy

Serving — Prairie 41-55 (.745), Kennedy 68-74 (.919).

Aces — Prairie 4 (four with 1), Kennedy 8 (Katie Jensen 3).

Kills — Prairie 30 (Alexis Moses 13), Kennedy 31 (Jensen 9).

Assists — Prairie 29 (Haley Ideka 17), Kennedy 30 (Abby Feldmann 28).

Blocks — Prairie 2 (Moses, Bailey Rima), Kennedy 7 (three with 2).

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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