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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 11, 2011
Dike-New Hartford hands Lake Mills first loss

Dike-New Hartford's Lizzy Blough (3, left) watches as Lake Mills' MOrgan Fjelstad (8) sets the ball in the first game of the 2A semifinals in the state tournament on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids. Dike-New Hartford will play defending champions Western Christian for the championship Saturday at 3 p.m. (Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

 

CEDAR RAPIDS — Leading can take several forms.

It can mean mentoring young, talented players. And it can mean stepping forward and, well, leading the team.

Sara Koch has done a lot of the former this season. Friday night, she did the latter.

The fourth-leading player on her teams in kills this season, Koch had a team-high 13 as third-ranked Dike-New Hartford handed No. 2 Lake Mills its first loss of the season, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19, in a Class 2A semifinal at the state volleyball tournament at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

“The quick hit is my best hit, and it suited us pretty nicely tonight,” Koch said. “This was a fight, and we all really wanted it.”

The Wolverines (44-3) get their shot at No. 1 Western Christian for the 2A championship at 3 p.m. Saturday. Western (49-1) defeated No. 4 Grundy Center in four sets Friday and carries a 56-match winning streak against Iowa foes.

Dike-New Hartford's Kaity Brouwer (6) spikes the ball against Lake Mills in the second game of the 2A semifinals in the state tournament on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids. Dike-New Hartford will play defending champions Western Christian for the championship Saturday at 3 p.m. (Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

“We came into the season with goals … to win our conference, to get back here, and now to win it,” said DNH Coach Diane Harms.

With 22 appearances and seven championships, this is one of the state’s volleyball jewels. But it’s been 14 years since the Wolverines were last crowned.

The tradition is secure for quite a while longer, with freshmen like Briana Weber and Lizzy Blough in the mix. Weber collected 10 kills, as did Kaity Brouwer.

“The freshmen are going to be so good when they get older,” Koch said. “I love mentoring the younger girls. They are so talented.”

Lake Mills (44-1) had dropped a mere four sets prior to Friday. But the Wolverines kept the Bulldogs from getting on any extended runs.

“We just talk about staying aggressive on our side,” Harms said. “We didn’t allow them to get in too much of a rhythm.”

Abbie Perez collected 41 assists for DNH.

Josie Brackey had 13 kills for Lake Mills.

 

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