Stacked field at Wilde Invitational

There was no shortage of talent at Saturday’s annual Jackie Wilde Invitational.

In the end, the second-ranked (Class 2A) and defending state runner-up Western Christian volleyball team captured another tournament title, notching a perfect 6-0 record on the day. Ankeny Centennial was right behind with a 5-1 mark, while host Fort Dodge went 2-4.

The Dodgers (8-15 overall) posted victories over No. 9 (4A) Lewis Central (19-21, 21-19 and 15-10) and Osage (21-15 and 21-19), while falling to the Jaguars (21-10 and 21-11), Nevada (21-15 and 21-17), Ames (21-13 and 25-23) and the champion Wolfpack (21-5 and 21-10).

“Beating a top 10 team like Lewis Central was huge for our girls, and we also beat Osage, who we had already lost to twice this season,” FDSH head coach Tonia Burrell said. “We have the ability to play with anyone if we can just realize it, but we have to keep working on the mental side of our game.”

Senior Ashley Altman went 41-for-46 at the service line with 26 kills and 6.5 blocks for the Dodgers.

Tiana Mericle (16 kills and four blocks), Lexi Astor (20 digs and 15 kills) and McKinna Teske (30-for-32 serving and 29 assists) were the other top performers for Fort Dodge.

“I thought our three big hitters Lexi, Ashley and Tiana all played really well (yesterday),” said Burrell. “Rachel Herrington and McKinna Teske both stepped up and did a great job for us, too.

“I’m continuing to see improvement every day, which is all you can ask for.”

Marcy Weinzetl chipped in 25 assists for the Dodgers, while Kari Grindberg tallied 20 digs and Herrington had 11 kills.

Astor was also forced out of action early with an apparent knee injury. Fort Dodge was already playing without the services of starting senior setter Maddie Egli (sprained ankle).

“I was pretty happy with how we played overall against some tough teams, but you can’t control injuries,” Burrell said. “Our gameplan had to change after Lexi got hurt, and we were having to scrounge for players even before that.”

Ames finished 4-2, followed by Nevada (3-3), Lewis Central (1-5) and Osage (0-6). Centennial suffered its lone setback against tradition-rich Western Christian by scores of 21-12 and 21-8. The Wolfpack improved to 18-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to Millard North (Neb.) in a tournament back on Sept. 7.

Next action for the Dodgers is Tuesday at third-ranked (5A) Ankeny. Start time is set for 7:30 p.m.