Haley Swanson Nora Konz Aubree James

(Treynor) -- Treynor erased a 2-0 deficit in thrilling fashion Thursday night for a pivotal Western Iowa Conference win.

"Just how we drew it up," Treynor Coach Lea Crouse joked. "It means a lot. This conference is big. I knew this one was going to be tough. We came out and did what we wanted after that second set."

"It was a lot about keeping each other up and keeping the energy," junior hitter Aubree James said. "When we have our energy, we play better."

The Cardinals' odds of remaining unbeaten in WIC action looked slim at 8:22 PM when they dropped the second set, but one hour later, they were basking in a memorable, 22-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, 15-7 victory.

The first set had 10 ties, but Riverside used a 6-0 run to win it, 25-22.

The second set featured five ties in the first 24 points, but Riverside used a 5-0 run to create enough separation for a 25-22 win, bringing the match to 2-0.

It looked like the Bulldogs would finally capture an elusive win over their WIC rival.

"We knew we just needed to keep our energy up and not let ourselves get in a divot," James said.

"When we get too intense -- which is what our first and second set was -- we don't play well," Crouse said. "When we find things that work, that's when we play well."

The Cardinals left little doubt in the third set with a laser focused offense that cruised to a 25-14 win to force a fourth set.

"We were playing relaxed and doing what we needed to," Crouse said. "We eliminated our miscues."

Riverside scored the first two of the fourth set and led 13-8 midway through the frame. However, Treynor eventually pieced together a 6-0 run to turn a 15-11 deficit into a 17-15 lead. Riverside never got any closer, and Treynor forced a fifth set.

The two squads split the first four points of the final set, but Treynor muscled four of the next five to grow a 7-3 lead. Riverside cut the deficit to 8-6, but Treynor had one more run in them, using a 7-1 spurt to end the night with a memorable victory.

"We were playing as a team," Crouse said. "We play first to five, first to 10 and first to 15. But we can't do that when we don't have a back row ready to go and a front row ready to be aggressive. We just really meshed in that fifth set."

Konz -- a freshman -- shined in the final set, capping off her 17-kill night.

"I just had a lot of confidence in myself," Konz said. "I saw some open spots and kept hitting it there. They weren't adjusting well, so I kept hitting it where they weren't."

"She's just a freshman," Crouse said. "But she plays bigger than a freshman. She takes the ball and does what she needs to."

James complemented Konz with a 14-kill outing.

"I knew I needed to keep changing my shots," James said. "Calling my shots kept the tempo high."

Of course, neither of the standout hitting performances occur without stellar setting from junior Haley Swanson. Swanson handed out 45 assists in the victory.

"The faster tempo, they're going to put it down," Swanson said. "I trust them and set what they call. I believe in them, and they believe in me. It just works."

Ella Tiarks posted nine kills, while Kiralyn Horton added eight winners for the Cardinals in the win.

Veronica Andrusyshyn led 1A No. 13 Riverside (19-3, 3-1) with 17 kills and 10 digs, and Mackenzie Olmstead-Mitchell added nine winners. Ayla Richardson handed out 25 assists and scooped seven digs, and Elyssa Amdor did a little of everything with five kills, eight digs and two blocks.

The heartbreaking defeat snapped an eight-match win streak for the Bulldogs. Riverside returns to action on Tuesday night with a crucial matchup against Missouri Valley -- who is unbeaten in conference action.

Treynor (16-4, 5-0) is the other undefeated team in WIC play. The Cardinals have won nine of their last 10, with their lone blemish coming to 3A No. 3 Mount Vernon at last week's Red Oak Tournament. Up The Cardinals have a pair of Western Iowa Conference meetings next week with Audubon (Tuesday) and Missouri Valley (Thursday).

"Those last three sets were our best volleyball," Crouse said. "We have to find a way to stay consistent and play the way we do well."

Check out the full interviews with Swanson, Konz, James and Coach Crouse below. 

Thank you for reading kmaland.com

At KMA, we attempt to be accurate in our reporting. If you see a typo or mistake in a story, please contact us by emailing kmaradio@kmaland.com.