Cougar girls add eight wins, claim 700th win for coach

HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER Payton Danielson dives to keep the ball in play during Mabel-Canton’s match against Glenville-Emmons.

HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER Avery Davis attacks for the Cougars in a match against Glenville-Emmons.
Chad Smith

The Mabel-Canton volleyball team had another busy and successful week, starting with a 3-0 win at Kingsland on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The Cougars then won their only match of the season against Glenville-Emmons 3-0 on Thursday.

After that, Mabel-Canton took first place in the Decorah, Iowa, Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 28. During the tournament, M-C coach Lonnie Morken won his 700th match as Cougar coach. Mabel-Canton improved to 26-2 overall (10-0 SEC).

Beat Kingsland 3-0

(25-13, 25-17, 25-15)

Morken said the second SEC match of the season against Kingsland was a fun one. The Knights are finally getting healthy after some early-season injury problems, and Morken said they’re playing much better volleyball.

“Kingsland had a huge crowd on hand and an excellent pep band,” he recalled. “They’re rounding into form after getting some of their injured kids back. They have some firepower and good athletes right now on their roster. I was most happy with how efficient we were on the court against their squad.

“We served quite aggressively and finished with 16 aces while missing just five serves,” Morken said. For the match, Mabel-Canton hit 67 of 72 serves (93%) successfully.

Kenidi McCabe was phenomenal with a perfect 19 for 19 at the service line and a team-high 9 aces. Payton Danielson was also perfect at 14 of 14 while Sarina Stortz was second on the team with 3 aces.

“Offensively, we were really solid with Sarina Stortz, Kenidi McCabe, Jordyn Newgard and Emily Carolan,” Morken added. “Some good ball control led to good setting, which allowed our offense to run smoothly.”

The team had 36 kills in 97 attempts with 14 errors (23% efficiency). Stortz led the team with 11 kills; McCabe added 8, Newgard had 5 and Carolan 4.

McCabe added another 28 assists to her career total while Carolan had 3.

The back-row defense came up with 59 digs (McCabe 13, Newgard 12) while the front row finished with 6 blocks (Avery Davis 2).

Beat G-E 3-0

(25-15, 25-3, 25-9)

While the girls weren’t as sharp as they’re used to being at the service line, the Cougars were remarkably efficient on the attack.

“Glenville-Emmons is a hardworking and scrappy team,” Morken said. “They did a great job returning volleyballs early on in the first set. Our serving and attacking kind of wore them down over the final two sets.  As a team we hit .430 which is remarkably high.”

The Cougar attack was successful on 37 of its 70 attacks with only 7 errors on the night. Stortz once again led the attack with 12 kills (19 attempts, 1 error, 58% efficiency).

Carolan was second with 6 kills while McCabe, Newgard and Danielson each finished with 4. McCabe (25) and Carolan (6) combined for 31 of the team’s 36 assists.

“We missed nine serves at the line, which is little higher than we’re used to, but we countered that with 15 aces,” Morken added. “But overall, it was a good night.” The team hit 64 of 73 serves successfully (88%).

Danielson was incredible at the line, hitting 29 of 30 serves (97%) with a team-high 7 aces. Davis and Lauren Wyffels each added 3.

Defensively, the Cougars totaled up 27 digs (McCabe 8, Danielson 6) and 4 blocks (Stortz 2).

Winning at Decorah Invite

Morken said the team traveled to the Decorah Tournament on Saturday to finish out a busy week. “We defeated South Winneshiek 21-5, 21-8, (which was Morken’s 700th win as Mabel-Canton coach); Jesup 21-7, 21-12; MFL MarMac 21-3, 21-7 and Central Elkader 21-15, 21-9 in our first two pools.”

That moved Mabel-Canton on to the round-robin championship pool. “We faced Wapsie Valley, who is ranked No. 4 in Class A in Iowa,” Morken said. “They are a very talented team and are the favorites to go to the Iowa State Tournament from their district. We played some of our best volleyball of the season in winning 21-18, 21-23, 15-8.

"We then played Decorah, who had previously lost to Wapsie Valley in straight sets. It was one of the best Decorah teams I can remember playing, and we won 21-13 and 21-17.”

The Cougars played well in all phases of the game during a busy day’s schedule. The team hit 236 of 258 serves successfully (91%).

Newgard was fantastic, hitting 67 of 69 serves successfully (97%) while finishing second on the team with 10 ace serves. McCabe was first with 16 aces while going 51 of 55 (93%) at the line.

At the net, the Mabel-Canton attack was successful on 155 of its 390 attempts with 40 errors (a solid 29% efficiency).

Danielson led the way with 42 kills while Stortz had 36 and McCabe added 22. Newgard had 18 with Molly Lee and Carolan each with 12 kills.

McCabe had 115 of the team’s 151 assists while Wyffels (16) and Carolan (12) combined for another 28 assists.

The back row continued to defend its side of the court all day, getting a total of 260 digs, including 57 from McCabe, 45 from Newgard and 40 from Lee. Danielson added 39 digs, Wyffels had 29, and Kaylor Soiney finished with 17.

The team totaled 10 blocks on the day, including 4 from Stortz.

“It was a great day of volleyball,” he said. “Our defense against Wapsie and Decorah was phenomenal. I thought Jordyn Newgard had a really steady day, and Molly Lee also passed the ball really well. It was a total team effort.”


The team kicked off a busy week with a home match against Spring Grove on Tuesday of this week, looking to sweep the season series from the Lions.

The Cougars travel to Lanesboro looking to sweep the season series from the Burros on Thursday, Oct. 3. They’ll take a few days to rest and practice before their next game on Thursday, Oct. 10, at Houston.