URBANDALE - Nearly doubling up on Class 5A's fifth-ranked Urbandale in the opening game was both an eye-opener and a kick-starter for the J-Hawks.
The Marshalltown High School volleyball team took the first set but fell in the next three in Tuesday's CIML match, losing 13-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19 in the first of two trips to Urbandale this week.
MHS (10-10) returns for Saturday's Urbandale Invitational with a little more than a notion that the Bobcats have enough game to compete with one of the top teams in the state.
"When we controlled tempo and continued to go after them with tough serves, we did a nice job," said MHS head coach Terri Westendorf. "I thought we were much better defensively than Urbandale, but for as 'on' as we were in that first game we just couldn't keep that up."
Urbandale (16-2) turned to its top hitters, and the junior duo of Kyla Inderski and Emilee Erichsen did the rest. Inderski totaled 20 kills and Erichsen 15 as the pair combined for 81 of the team's 96 swinging attempts and committed just four errors.
"(Inderski) was putting the ball down extremely well," said Westendorf. "We had some good things going but we need to be able to keep that up. We just are not consistent throughout the entire match."
Lauren Mazour led the Bobcats with 14 kills, Eisha Oden had 12 and Miranda Smith 10. Madi Bellile totaled 34 assists while Morgan Bellile and Leiah Paustian both had 15 digs. But Marshalltown managed only three blocks on the night as Urbandale hit .344 as a team.
"We were doing good but we were not keeping up with their changes," Westendorf said. "We've got the A game, we just need to be able to have that B game when we have to re-adjust to the other team."
The Bobcats finished 78-for-82 serving as a team with six aces. Mazour was 15-for-16 with an ace, Megan Major was 13-for-14 with two aces and Morgan Bellile was 12-for-13 with two aces.
The MHS freshman 'A' team was the only underclass squad to prevail for the Bobcats, winning 25-21, 25-22. The junior varsity (25-19, 25-23), sophomores (25-19, 25-20) and freshman 'B' team (25-20, 25-17) all fell in straight sets.
Play in Saturday's Urbandale Invite begins at 8 a.m.