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The Gazette KCRG
Posted September 12, 2011
Balance carries City High to No. 1

Individually, they might not scare you. Collectively, they’ll pound you.

Saturday was a perfect example.

“We had four kids who were within two or three kills of each other (at the North Scott Invitational tournament),” said Craig Pitcher, head coach of the Iowa City High volleyball team.

Craig Pitcher

“We don’t have a Haley Eckerman, but we have a lot of girls who, given a set, can put the ball down.”

City High has risen to the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A behind that depth. The Little Hawks (11-0) have dropped only one set, Sept. 3 against Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

“Coming in, I sensed we could be pretty good,” Pitcher said. ”We are so balanced as an offensive unit. It’s a fun group of kids. It’s a good group to work with, fun to watch, fun to coach.”

Senior setter Erin Muir averages a state-best 11.0 assists per game, working with a variety of young weapons.

Rachel Rinehart, a 5-foot-9 junior, leads the group with 3.53 kills per game and a .394 kill efficiency. She is followed by sophomore Michaela Nelson (2.60 kills per game, .298 kill efficiency), junior Abby Saehler (2.27, .321) and junior Liz Hubing (2.20, .293).

The Little Hawks have lost in the regional finals three straight years — to Iowa City West in 2008, to Linn-Mar in 2009 and to Cedar Rapids Xavier in 2010.

“The regional final is the hardest match of the year,” Pitcher said. “The preseason goal, like every year, is to play at the state tournament. That’s understood.”

City’s annual grudge match with No. 6 Iowa City West (14-2) is Sept. 20 at home.

Prolific setters

Statistically speaking, the top three setters in Class 3A reside in the area.

Sara Jesse of Union is tops among 3A players in assists at 9.82 per game. Brette Correy of Western Dubuque (9.00) and Marlee Lindstrom of Maquoketa (8.43) are second and third.

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