CEDAR RAPIDS — Waverly-Shell Rock crashed the coronation.
Playing its first five-set match of the season, the youthful Go-Hawks handled it like pros and shocked No. 1 Sioux City Heelan, 25-19, 15-25, 31-29, 20-25, 17-15, for the Class 3A state volleyball championship Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We came in as the underdog, but we fought hard and it paid off for us,” said Morgan Kuhrt, the all-tournament captain.
And now the Go-Hawks look capable of a lengthy title reign. Kuhrt is a sophomore; so is setter Kinsey Caldwell. Rachel Peth is a junior.
No. 3 WSR finished 47-5, including 26-0 against 3A competition.
“We wanted this so bad,” Peth said. “We weren’t thinking about the score.”
Good thing, because there were plenty of opportunities for the Go-Hawks to fold.
They were playing against a Heelan squad that won more matches than any previous team in state history, a squad many thought was the best in the state in any class.
The Crusaders (52-6) rallied from an 8-2 deficit in the fifth game to take the lead on three occasions, the last of which was match point at 14-13.
Kills by Peth and Kuhrt gave WSR the lead. Then, after the teams traded points, Caldwell ended it with a crosscourt smash.
Her fit of exuberance was delayed a split-second.
“I thought it was out,” she said.
Caldwell joined Kuhrt on the all-tournament team. So did Heelan’s Carli Tritz and Leisa McClintock, Marion’s JoAnna Forkner and Williamsburg’s Mackenzie Bigbee.
The third set was an epic.
The Go-Hawks scored the final three points, capped by a service winner by Peth.
Kuhrt led all attackers with 26 kills. Peth added 20. Caldwell collected 49 assists.
Maggie Vondrak posted 15 kills for Heelan.