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The Gazette KCRG
Posted September 20, 2011
No. 2 West recaptures the Spike

Members of the Iowa City West volleyball team point to the sky as they celebrate their victory over City High following their match Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 at City High in Iowa City. West won the match in four games to claim the Golden Spike. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)


IOWA CITY — Iowa City West’s emotional ride hit a crest Tuesday night.

But even in victory, the sense of loss is never far away.

“Caroline (Found) would have loved this,” a tearful West Coach Kathy Bresnahan said after the Class 4A second-ranked Women of Troy defeated No. 1 Iowa City High, 27-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-19, in a Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball showdown at City High.

Found, the setter for West’s state championship team last year, was killed in a moped accident in August. It hasn’t always been easy, but the Women of Troy (19-5 overall, 4-0 MVC) have persevered.

Ernie Found holds up the Golden Spike as he gets hugs from Iowa City West's Shelly Stumpff (11) and Olivia Fairfield (18) following their victory over City High Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 at City High in Iowa City. Ernie Found is the father of West High setter Caroline Found who was killed in a moped accident in August. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

“We have highs and lows,” said Kelley Fliehler, who has capably assumed the setter position. “This win shows we’re still a contender. We’re not letting this season get away from us.”

West collected 16 blocks and took home The Spike for the fourth time in five years. Olivia Fairfield cradled the trophy as she spoke afterward.

“This feels absolutely amazing,” Fairfield said. “This was one of our goals, and it’s great to get it accomplished.

“Caroline would have wanted this so bad. I’m so glad we did this.”

The teams split the first two sets, then West won the last two convincingly.

A six-point surge in Game 3 broke it open at 21-13, then a four-point run in Game 4 put West ahead to stay at 12-9.

“They blocked well, because we were out of system a lot,” said City High Coach Craig Pitcher. “We were passing 12 feet off the net, and we became very predictable.”

Shelly Stumpff collected 17 kills for West. Fairfield added 10 kills and six blocks. Fliehler distributed 44 assists.

“(Setting) has been frustrating at times,” Fliehler said. “Coach and my teammates have all been so supportive.”

“She’s doing amazing,” Fairfield said of Fliehler. “She’s working so hard. We couldn’t ask for any more out of her.”

The first set was tied at 25-all before Fairfield notched back-to-back kills. In Game 2, City High (17-2, 3-1) rallied from 20-18 down with six straight points.

Rachel Rinehart whacked 17 kills for City High. Elizabeth Hubing and Michaela Nelson had 13 apiece. Erin Muir delivered 50 assists.

After the match, The Spike made its way up the bleachers to Ernie Found, who held it aloft. In a two-week period in August, he lost his daughter in a moped accident and his wife to cancer.

As the West players embraced him, Bresnahan let her emotions flow freely.

“I just miss my player,” she said.






One Response to No. 2 West recaptures the Spike

  1. Thanks for your great coverage, KCRG! City played good, but not good enough! Go West! Bless Coach Pilcher’s heart, but his comment should’ve read, “They blocked well because they’re so much taller than us!” :) Nothing can stop us now!!!! Live Like Line!

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