They’re young. They’re productive. And they’re wildly efficient.
The sample size is now legitimate — West Liberty has 11 volleyball matches under its belt — and sophomore Martha Pace (.604) and freshman Macy Daufeldt (.525) rank 1-2 in the state in kill efficiency among players with at least 100 attacks.
That has boosted the Comets (10-1) to a team kill rate of .401, which ranks No. 1 in all classes.
“Martha was a big part of the team last year, and she has improved a lot. She has become very explosive,” West Liberty Coach Ruben Galvan said. “Obviously, she’s a very smart hitter, very active on the court.
“Macy, we knew she had the potential to contribute for us. She’s been a very good surprise for us.”
A pair of 5-foot-10 middle hitters, Daufeldt and Pace are averaging 3.68 and 2.72 kills per set, respectively.
“Normally, everybody wants to be an outside hitter,” Galvan said. “Due to the makeup of our team, we use them more as middles even though they’re both effective in either position.”
Daufeldt is the younger sister of Hailey Daufeldt, the Comets’ top hitter in a 2015 season that ended with a Class 3A state runner-up finish.
How does this team compare?
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“That’s a good question,” Galvan said. “This team, maybe more than any other team I’ve had, wants to be in the gym every minute they can. Our youth shows at times, but we can’t blame anything on youth. A lot of these kids have played at a high level for quite some time.”
Daufeldt has accumulated 92 kills — against 19 hitting errors — in 139 swings. For Pace, it’s 68 kills and just seven miscues in 101 attempts.
There are other valuable pieces, too. Senior Hallie Mueller and junior Madison McIntosh add 1.88 and 1.74 kills per set. Junior setter Morgan Peterson makes it click with 9.12 assists per set, and senior libero Macy Akers, a valuable part of the 2015 team, nets 5.88 digs per set.
West Liberty is ranked No. 10 in 3A, and faces a pair of major River Valley Conference South Division challenges next week, both at home — against Wilton (9-0) and 3A No. 2 Tipton (9-2).
“That’s the way our division is going to be ... a great match every night,” Galvan said. “That’s the way we want it.”
A dwindling club
Twenty-five unbeatens remain throughout the state, but just two from The Gazette’s coverage area.
— Dyersville Beckman swept Marion in a Wamac Conference East Division match Tuesday to move to 16-0 overall, 2-0 in the division. The Blazers are 36-1 in sets and won the Shirley Ryan Invitational on Saturday at Mount Vernon. Beckman will participate in Iowa City West’s Caroline Found Invitational on Saturday.
— Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-0) fought off match point against Linn-Mar in the championship match of Cedar Rapids Washington’s Warrior Invitational on Saturday, then swept Cedar Rapids Prairie on Tuesday to improve to 2-0 in the MVC Mississippi Division. The Saints are part of the North Scott Invitational on Saturday.
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