MAQUOKETA — The Central DeWitt volleyball team did not have to worry about getting enough time on the court during the season-opening Maquoketa Invitational Saturday.
Like the other five teams in the field — including fellow Observer-area squad Northeast — the Sabers played five matches at the round-robin tournament, but they were the only squad to go the full three sets in more than one match.
In fact, three of the Sabers’ matchup at the tournament went the distance.
Central went 2-1 in those three-set matches to finish fourth at the invite.
One such victory came against the Rebels, who finished sixth.
The Sabers cruised to a 21-13 victory in the opening set against Northeast, but the Rebels prevailed, 21-19, in a much closer second set.
That set the two teams on a race to 15 points in the third set.
It was Central which got there first in another close set, winning the match with a 15-12 victory.
Sabers sophomore Ava Morris paced the attack with six kills, while Talbot Kinney had five and Taylor Veach four.
Veach also dished out nine assists — matching senior Alyssa Eden — while Kaity Frick came up with a team-best 11 digs (Eden and Grace Pierce both had six), and Carleigh Jefford served up four aces.
Alexis Ehlers, Bree Mangelsen, and Valerie Spooner all had three kills for the Rebels.
Almost all of Northeast’s kills were set up by Jade Lanxon, who had 15 assists, while tying Mangelsen for the team lead with three digs.
Mangelsen, meanwhile, served up six aces.
Central’s other three-set victory came against Camanche.
The two teams — who were set to meet again Tuesday — played a marathon opening set with the Sabers finally prevailing 25-23.
Central, though, lost the momentum in the second set as the Indians rolled to a 21-12 victory to send the match to a third set.
The Sabers, though, bounced back, knocking off Camanche 15-9 in the final set to bring home the victory.
Veach had a busy match, leading the team in kills (five), assists (six) and digs (10), while Jefford and Elaina Schroeder both had three kills and Kinney and Morris two.
Eden added five assists and seven digs — Frick and Kinney both had six digs — while Morris, Lauren Cooper and Schroeder combined for 12 blocks.
The Sabers were one successful third set from creating a three-way tie for second at the tournament as they forced a third game against the hosts.
All three sets between Central and Maquoketa involved big margins. The Cardinals won the first set by seven points, but the Sabers won the second by nine.
The hosts, though, jumped out to a big lead in the third set and carried that to a 15-5 win (the Cardinals finished with four victories to take second behind North Scott, while North Cedar was third with three wins).
Schroeder led a balanced Sabers attack with five kills (six Central players had at least two kills), while Veach had 11 assists and seven digs.
Eden matched her five assists with five digs, while Jefford and Kinney also had five digs.
The Sabers fell in two sets to both North Cedar and North Scott, but did give the Lancers one of their closest sets after falling 21-18 in the second game between the two teams.
Central finished with 34 digs against North Scott, picking up a team-best eight from Kinney, seven from Pierce, six from Frick and five from Eden.
Northeast had a tournament-best 13 kills in their 21-14, 21-15 setback to Camanche.
Neveah Hildebrandt led the way with five, while Ehlers had three and Ellie Rickertsen two (Claire Abbott, meanwhile, had two blocks).
The Rebels’ defense, meanwhile, was at their best in a matchup with the hosts, coming up with 21 digs.
More than half of them came from the senior duo of Miya Messerich (eight) and Lanxon (seven), while Hildebrandt had three.
The Rebels added two blocks for good measure, picking up one apiece from Abbott and Sierra Wegener.
Northeast opened its season two days earlier with a home date against Fulton.
The Rebels had a hard time getting their offense going against the Steamers and were limited to 10 kills in a 25-9, 25-13, 25-9 setback.
Abbott led the way with three kills and matched that number with three aces.
Ehlers, Mangelsen and Rickertsen all had two kills, while Lanxon dished out five assists and Spooner had two blocks.