CEDAR RAPIDS — There were some tense, riveting championship matches at the state volleyball tournament Saturday.
This wasn’t one of them.
Blame the Mount Vernon Mustangs. Or, more accurately, credit them.
Top-ranked Mount Vernon completely annihilated No. 7 Sheldon, 25-8, 25-14, 25-9, for the Class 2A title at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” said all-tournament captain Ali Stark. “It’s so nice to come back here and have things go our way.”
The Mustangs were 3A runners-up in 2007 and 2008. They were tight and tense in a five-set loss to Marion last year.
Saturday, they were loose and superior.
“It’s that one more year of maturity,” said Coach Shirley Ryan. “Our whole goal was focus, and we got down to business.”
On the 25th anniversary of its other championship, Mount Vernon finished 43-1 — the loss came to 4A runner-up Iowa City West.
Sheldon (38-3) had knocked off No. 3 Dike-New Hartford and No. 2 Western Christian in an unlikely run to the finals.
No. 1 was a completely different beast. The Mustangs stung the Orabs with a seven-point surge in the first game, a run that gave them a 14-4 lead, and they were off to the races.
“We were really prepared and we wanted it a lot,” said Amanda Platte. “We’ve worked really hard for this, and it finally paid off.”
Sheldon’s only glimmer of hope came in the early stages of the second game, when it battled the Mustangs to an 11-11 deadlock. But Stark fueled a rally as Mount Vernon pulled away.
Mount Vernon kept the pedal to the floor in the finale, jumping to leads of 9-1 and 15-2 and enabling Ryan to get some substitiues into the game.
The Mustangs’ size gave Sheldon fits. They collected 19 blocks and forced the Orabs into a minus-.198 kill efficiency (11 kills, 28 errors).
“It might have appeared easy, but we have so much respect for Sheldon and what they accomplished to get here,” Ryan said.
Stark and Platte collected nine kills apiece, Courtney Kintzel seven kills and eight blocks. Those three made the all-tournament team, along with Elizabeth Ihnen of Sheldon, Eryca Hingtgen of Wapsie Valley and Abby Horstman of Western Christian.