CEDAR RAPIDS — Can they play any better than that?
“We’re going to have to,” said Shirley Ryan, coach of the Mount Vernon Mustangs.
Top-ranked Mount Vernon was close to flawless Thursday night, drilling Pella Christian, 25-7, 25-11, 25-9, in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center.
The match — OK, mismatch — took only 54 minutes to complete.
“Everyone knows what our goal is, and we’re so close to it,” said Brianna Strong.
Mount Vernon (41-1) faces No. 4 Wapsie Valley in a semifinal at 7:15 Friday night. Wapsie (36-2) swept Camanche last night.
The Mustangs were 3A runners-up here the last two years before dropping a class. Like Strong said, their goal is no mystery.
“The kids just want it so much,” Ryan said. “The kids are really taking ownership of things, their goals. Tonight, they wanted to set a pace they wanted to run and play solid volleyball.”
It was more like brilliant volleyball. Overwhelming volleyball. Pella Christian (23-15) didn’t sniff the lead all night.
“They’re very good,” said Eagles Coach John Evenhouse. “We knew we would have to make them play defense. When they get the ball up right to their setter, they have so many great hitters that can put the ball away.”
The Mustangs posted a .486 kill efficiency — 38 kills in 70 swings, with only four errors.
Amanda Platte collected 12 kills and hit .632. Ali Stark and Courtney Kintzel added eight kills apiece.
“When all of the hitters are on like that, it’s great,” said setter Sarah Ryan, who dished out 34 assists. “Our game plan was to spread it out, go from pin to pin and hit it hard.”
Mount Vernon enjoyed huge advantages in kills (38-13), blocks (10-0) and aces (11-3). Stark served five aces, four in an 11-point run in Game 1 that pushed the lead to 17-3.
So, can they really play any better than that?
“I think we can,” Sarah Ryan said. “There’s always room for improvement.