CEDAR RAPIDS — It came down to this: Iowa City West couldn’t finish.
Three times, top-rated Ankeny sprinted by the No. 2 Women of Troy at the wire, and the Hawkettes retained the Class 4A volleyball crown, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24, 27-25, Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
After it was over, Coach Kathy Bresnahan held her thumb and index finger together and told her team, “We were this close.”
No, they were closer.
Ankeny (39-1) overcame a 19-16 deficit in the opener, scoring six straight points. West (39-3) rolled in Game 2, then let two set points get away in the third game and squandered another in the fourth.
“I think they outsmarted us at the end,” said West’s Jessica Gehrke, the all-tournament captain.
The Women of Troy outlasted Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a five-set semifinal Friday, and Bresnahan said it may have had lingering effects.
“We were a little gassed. We didn’t have the legs that we normally do,” she said. “Games 3 and 4 were ours for the taking.”
Ankeny’s Maddie Manning ended the third game with three straight kills.
“When you’re behind, you have to stay determined,” said Ankeny’s Lindsey Petersen, who made the all-tournament unit along with teammate Amber Aschoff. “You have to want the ball.”
Neither team strung together more than two straight points in Game 4 until West tallied three in a row to go up, 23-20. West led 24-23 on Alli O’Deen’s kill, but Ankeny scored four of the next five points — the final two on kills by Erin Roggenburg — to capture the match.
It was Ankeny’s title, all since 2004.
“I don’t remember much; it’s all pretty much a blur to me right now,” said Ankeny Coach Dave Whims. “I do know that the kids made a lot of adjustments.”
Aschoff collected 18 kills for the winners. Manning scored 17.
O’Deen, an all-tourney selection, led West with 18 kills. Gehrke added 16.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Haley Brightwell and Dubuque Hempstead’s Heidi Splinter rounded out the all-tournament team.