PHOTO BY GEORGIA OSTERSON | RAM FANATIC The Greene County volleyball team celebrates during their home opener against St. Edmond last Thursday at the Greene County Gym in Jefferson. The Rams swept the Gaels, 3-0.

Even keel: Rams goes 3-3 in early season stretch


Encouraged by back-to-back winning seasons and talented returners, the Greene County volleyball team scheduled a relatively challenging slate to open up their 2023 campaign. 

The Rams took part in the Mustang Invitational, facing off against Ballard, Dallas Center-Grimes and Mason City on August 22 in Grimes, before sweeping St. Edmond last Thursday at the Greene County Gym in Jefferson.

This past Monday, the red and black split their triangular with No. 6-ranked (Class 2A) Kuemper Catholic and Boone at Boone High School. The Rams fell 2-0 against the Knights, before rallying back to defeat the Toreadors with a 2-1 decision.

Right out of the gate, the Rams are sitting at the .500 mark with a 3-3 overall record.

This past Tuesday, the Rams took part in a triangular that saw the Rams cross paths with No. 15-ranked (Class 2A) South Central Calhoun and Panorama in Rockwell City. Results from the triangular will be reported in an upcoming edition of the Jefferson Herald.

Following the three-way dance with the Titans and Panthers, the Rams will prepare for their Heart of Iowa Activities Conference opener against Nevada, set for 6:30 p.m. at the Greene County Gym in Jefferson.

Ballard 2, Greene County 1: In their regular season debut, the Rams almost clinched a hard fought victory, coming up just short against the Bombers in three games at the Mustang Invitational on August 22 in Grimes.

The Bombers took the first set with a 21-12 decision, before the Rams battled back to take a 21-14 victory. In the final set, the Bombers escaped with a 15-12 result.

Senior Kaylee Stalder led the way with nine kills, while senior libero Graci Cooklin dished up eight digs. Junior Emma Shipley hauled in six kills, followed by teammates Emma Ewalt and Hailey Carman, who each turned in four digs, complemented by two kills from sophomore Lila Osterson. Sophomore Natalee Baugh also picked up four digs and a kill.

The Rams’ serving percentage was 93 percent.

Dallas Center-Grimes 2, Greene County 1: Taking on the invitational’s hosts, the Rams also pushed into the third set before falling to the Mustangs at the Mustang Invitational on August 22 in Grimes.

DC-G took the first game via a 21-16 decision, before the Rams evened things up with a 21-18 victory. In the third set, the Mustangs cruised to a 14-7 win.

Cooklin brought out her shovel and netted 11 digs along with one kill, while Stalder collected seven kills and four digs. Junior Violet Reedy finished the match with five digs, asShipley and Osterson each had two kills. Ewalt posted on kill against DC-G.

The team serving percentage was 95 percent.

Greene County 2, Mason City 0: After getting so close in their previous matches, the Rams dominated the Riverhawks to salvage their stay at the Mustang Invitational on August 22 in Grimes.

The Rams overwhelmed Mason City with a pair of 21-10 scores.

Cooklin provided 12 digs this time around, while Stalder recorded seven kills. Carman turned in four digs, followed by Shipley’s three kills and Osterson’s two kills.

The team’s serving percentage dipped a little bit, going down slightly to 88 percent.

Greene County 3, St. Edmond 0: Squaring off with the Gaels for their home opener, the Rams brought out the brooms for a sweep last Thursday at the Greene County Gym in Jefferson.

The Rams started off hot with a 25-9 victory, before cruising onward with scores of 25-17 and 25-10.

Stalder enjoyed a stellar outing with 14 kills, while Reedy recorded 11 assists, two digs and one kill. Cooklin tabbed eight digs and three assists. Shipley picked up six kills, and Ewalt contributed with four digs and two kills.

Osterson chipped in with three kills, and Baugh came away with two kills. Carman had two digs, while sophomore Taylor Johnston tallied two assists. Junior Payton Kokenge rounded out the stats sheet with one kill.

The Rams again served at 88 percent, with Cooklin being the top server by going 24-of-25. 

Kuemper Catholic 2, Greene County 0: Taking on the sixth-ranked Knights, the Rams hung in there before dropping two close decisions in the first part of a triangular held this past Monday at Boone High School.

While the Rams battled all throughout, the Knights came out with 25-18 and 25-22 victories.

Stalder led with seven kills, alongside Cooklin’s seven digs. Reedy tabbed with six digs, while Ewalt compiled five digs and two kills.

Carman and Baugh each turned in five digs, followed by three kills each from Shipley and Osterson. Kokenge had one kill against Kuemper.

The team’s serving percentage improved, finishing with 92 percent.

Greene County 2, Boone 1: The Rams had to dig deep to finish their night with a three-set victory over the Toreadors this past Monday at Boone High School.

While the ‘Dors started the match with a 25-18 win, the Rams ran it back with a narrow 25-21 victory and a favorable 15-9 result in the final set.

Cooklin capped her fantastic night in the back row, racking up 11 digs for the winning cause. Shipley had a solid outing with eight kills, while Baugh went multidimensional with seven digs and three kills. 

Reedy had a nice match with six digs and three kills, followed by Osterson’s six digs and two kills. Kokenge picked up three kills in the win.

Greene County’s serving percentage took another dip, finishing with 84 percent.

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