CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER vs. SOUTHEAST POLK
Region: Class 4A Region 4
Site & time: Marshalltown, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: Both teams are unranked. Xavier is 19-18; Southeast Polk is 16-15.
Notable: Southeast Polk pulled a regional-semifinal shocker, ousting No. 8 Cedar Rapids Washington in five games at Washington. Xavier survived its own thrilled, outlasting Des Moines Roosevelt in five games. SEP is searching for its first trip to state. The Saints have made one voyage, in 2004.
Linder’s pick: Southeast Polk in 5.
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY vs. WATERLOO EAST
Region: Class 4A Region 5
Site & time: Waterloo West, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: No. 3 Kennedy is 33-4; No. 10 East is 24-11.
Notable: Kennedy advanced to the state semifinals last year, and returns the majority of its roster from that team, including Elite all-stater Kristen Hahn, who has committed to Iowa State. Haley Brightwell (3.42 kills per game, .432 kill efficiency) is a Drake recruit. East’s Haley Eckerman is tops in 4A at 6.82 kills per game. The Trojans were MVC Valley Division champs and are seeking their first trip to state in school history.
Linder’s pick: Kennedy in 4.
LINN-MAR vs. IOWA CITY HIGH
Region: Class 4A Region 6
Site & time: Cedar Rapids Prairie, 7 p.m,.
Records & rankings: No. 9 Linn-Mar is 25-14; No. 5 City High is 30-8.
Notable: Linn-Mar takes aim at its first state-tournament berth in school history. The Lions have two chief hitting threats — Kiah Stokes (4.76 kills per game, .495 kill efficiency) and Chelsea Burkle (3.64, .358). City High has made eight trips to state since 1997. Brittany Nelson averages 4.38 kills per game.
Linder’s pick: City High in 5.
IOWA CITY WEST vs. PLEASANT VALLEY
Region: Class 4A Region 8
Site & time: Tipton Middle School, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: No. 2 West is 36-2; Pleasant Valley is 18-12 and unranked.
Notable: West is on a major roll. The Women of Troy captured the MVC Mississippi Division title without a hitch; that division contains four of the top five teams in the state. They also won the prestigous Westside Invitational and the MVC tournament. Florida International recruit Jessica Gehrke averages 4.06 kills per game and hits .443; Alli O’Deen adds 3.48 kills per game and Katie Kelley averages 5.89 digs per game. Both teams qualified for state last year, with West reaching the semifinals.
Linder’s pick: West in 3.
MARION vs. NEVADA
Region: Class 3A Region 5
Site & time: Tama, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: No. 5 Marion is 35-9; Nevada is 27-10 and unranked.
Notable: The defending state champion, Marion is a win away from playing downtown for the fourth time in five years. Setter Morgan Paige is a four-year starter and averages 8.23 assists per game while JoAnna Forkner contributes 3.09 kills per game. The Indians were Wamac Conference West Division champions. Nevada was a state semifinalist last year and returns three starters. The Cubs survived a five-set match in the regional semifinals against South Tama.
Linder’s pick: Marion in 4.
WEST DELAWARE vs. DUBUQUE WAHLERT
Region: Class 3A Region 7
Site & time: Maquoketa, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: No. 7 West Delaware is 28-7; No. 6 Wahlert is 21-13.
Notable: Wahlert has been a postseason nemesis for West Delaware and tries to deny the Hawks again tonight in what could be the best regional final around. WD is chasing its sixth state berth in seven years while Wahlert missed state last year after nine consecutive trips. Allison Pasker averages 3.88 kills per game while Jenna Hermsen averages 9.15 assists. Wahlert’s Erin Klostermann averages 7.88 assists per game.
Linder’s pick: West Delaware in 5.
WILLIAMSBURG vs. FAIRFIELD
Region: Class 3A Region 8
Site & time: Oskaloosa, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: Both teams are unranked. Williamsburg is 25-10; Fairfield is 22-12.
Notable: These are the last two teams standing in a region that contained no ranked squads. Williamsburg is led by sophomore Mackenzie Bigbee, who averages 3.22 kills per game. Fairfield has one returning starter (Meredith Flattery) from a team that advanced to state in 2008.
Linder’s pick: Williamsburg in 4.
WEST BRANCH vs. MOUNT VERNON
Region: Class 2A Region 7
Site & time: Solon, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: West Branch is 29-9 and unranked; No. 1 Mount Vernon is 38-1.
Notable: Can West Branch slay Goliath? That’s the task at hand for the Bears, who meet a team that is down a class after recording back-to-back state runner-up finishes. Mount Vernon boasts three Division-I recruits — Brianna Strong (Northern Colorado), Ali Stark (Illinois) and Courtney Kintzel (Northern Iowa). Kintzel averages 1.27 blocks per game; setter Sarah Ryan 9.13 assists per game. West Branch survived a five-set match in the first round against Mid-Prairie.
Linder’s pick: Mount Vernon in 3.
SPRINGVILLE vs. DON BOSCO
Region: Class 1A Region 7
Site & time: Vinton, 7 p.m.
Records & rankings: Unranked Springville is 23-12; No. 5 Don Bosco is 23-9.
Notable: This isn’t the mismatch the rankings would lead you to believe. Springville has notched three consecutive regional sweeps, including an impressive preformance in the regional semis against North Tama. Hitter Maggie Ray was a starter last year on Springville’s team that advances to the state semifinals. Don Bosco made one state appearance (2005) and is led by setter Abby Breitbach (7.82 assists per game).
Linder’s pick: Don Bosco in 5.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy, cedar rapids xavier, Don Bosco, Dubuque Wahlert, Fairfield, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, Linn-Mar, Marion, Mount Vernon, Nevada, Pleasant Valley, regional finals, Southeast Polk, springville, Volleyball, waterloo east, West Branch, West Delaware, Williamsburg