|**Western Christian (46-3)||25||20||25||26|
|Grundy Center (38-6)||9||25||22||24|
|**Lake Mills (45-1)||25||28||25|
|LeMars Gehlen (28-7)||25||25||16||12||3|
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Lake Mills Bulldogs have reached Never Ever Land.
“I can’t believe we’re here,” said Josie Brackey. “I never, ever dreamed we could ever get this far.”
She’s not dreaming.
Sixth-ranked Lake Mills was the team with the most down the stretch of the first two games, and swept No. 3 Mediapolis, 25-21, 28-26, 25-17, in a Class 2A semifinal at the state volleyball tournament Friday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“All these things run through your mind,” said Lake Mills Coach Jim Boehmer. “You dream about what it would feel like, then when it happens, you don’t know how to react.”
The Bulldogs (45-1) face No. 1 Western Christian for the championship at 3 p.m. Saturday. Western (46-3) downed No. 7 Grundy Center in four games.
Lake Mills takes a 28-match winning streak into the final.
“At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think we had what it took to get this far,” said setter Morgan Fjelstad. “Now that we’re here, we want to make the most of it.”
The Bulldogs came back from a 20-17 deficit in the first game, then came up with an escape act that easily trumped that in Game 2.
Down 24-21, the Bulldogs staved off five set points — three of them on kills by Brackey.
A net violation by Mediapolis (43-4) ultimately gave the Bulldogs the game, and a giant boost of momentum.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” said Mediapolis Coach Dennis Jandrey. “The first two games, we were right where we wanted to be, and we couldn’t get over the top.
“It wasn’t much of what we did wrong. It was a lot of what they did right.”
Lake Mills broke to a 9-4 lead in the finale, and when Jandrey used his final timeout at 13-7, the Bulldogs were on their way.
Brackey collected 17 kills, leading the Bulldogs to a 47-28 advantage in that category. Shelby Kuper added 11 kills, and Fjelstad contributed 37 assists.
Kalyn Ertz had 11 kills for Mediapolis.
WESTERN CHRISTIAN 3, GRUNDY CENTER 1
After a one-year absence, the Wolfpack has returned to the finals.
Western climbed out of a fairly sticky situation in Game 3 and defeated No. 7 Grundy Center, 25-9, 20-25, 25-22, 26-24.
With the match tied at a set apiece and Grundy Center (38-6) leading Game 3, 21-15, the Wolfpack was in a bit of a bind.
But they worked their way out of it, scoring nine straight points. Ashley Van Der Brink had two kills and a block in that span while Brooke Wolterstorff served two aces.
“We learned early on not to give up, no matter how far we’re behind,” Van Der Beink said. “We’re not going to roll over.”
Van Der Brink then swatted a kill for set point.
Western advanced to eight straight 2A finals before Northwest Iowa rival Sheldon ended the string last year.
“It’s amazing to be back,” Van Der Brink said. ”We worked so hard to get to where we are today.”
Wolterstorff led all attackers with 17 kills. Abby Horstman added 12 for Western, including a back-row job at match point.
Kayla Gesink had 41 assists.
Meghan Krausman and Abby Graves led Grundy Center with 13 kills apiece.