CEDAR RAPIDS — No Hollywood script, no magical ending for Schaller-Crestland.
Instead, it was more of the same. Small-school volleyball remains Tripoli’s domain.
The top-ranked Panthers cruised through the first two sets, held off No. 3 Schaller-Crestland at the end and repeated as Class 1A champions, 25-11, 25-13, 28-26, Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We were clicking tonight,” said Tripoli’s Kalie Kirchhoff. “As long as we maintain our ball-control, we’re a very good team. When we’re on, we’re on.”
The Panthers (37-4) were on all week, sweeping all three of their matches.
As a result, Tripoli captured its eighth championship, all since 1999. Only Dubuque Wahlert (17) and Western Christian (12) have won more.
Schaller-Crestland retired at 33-4. It’s likely that this will be the final year for the school district in northwest Iowa; a merger with Galva-Holstein appears imminent.
“I’m not going there,” said Wildcats Coach Marilyn Murra. “This is about this year.”
This year, again, was Tripoli’s year. Next year might be, too.
All-tournament captain Megan Gilbert collected 19 kills. She’s a sophomore.
Gilbert was joined on the all-tournament team by Marissa Shinstine of Tripoli, Chelsea Clayton and Roxanne Grundmeier of Schaller-Crestland, Abby Breitbach of Don Bosco and Tayler Geer or Treynor.
Tripoli breezed through the first two sets. The last one was a little more dramatic.
The Wildcats had set point at 24-23 and 25-24, but Gilbert had three kills and Micah Wedemeier added two blocks — one at match point — to bring Tripoli back.
Chelsea Clayton collected 15 kills for Schaller-Crestland. She had five kills and a block to account for the Wildcats’ final six points.
Tripoli Coach Will Baumann is Murra’s nephew.
“He learned a little from me, but he learned a lot on his own,” Murra said.