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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 12, 2011
Harms, Wolverines finally solve Western

Dike-New Hartford's Abbie Perez (top) celebrates a point during their class 2A state championship match against Western Christian at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Dike-New Hartford won the championship. (SourceMedia Group News/Jim Slosiarek)


CEDAR RAPIDS — Western Christian owned Dike-New Hartford and Diane Harms at the state volleyball tournament.

Until now.

Third-ranked Dike-New Hartford won its eighth state championship — but its first since 1997 — by shocking No. 1 Western in straight sets, 25-19, 30-28, 25-23, for the Class 2A title Saturday afternoon at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

“It’s been a long time,” said Harms, who earned her first title as a coach. “I’m thrilled, so excited.”

Western Christian had been a mountain too high to climb for Harms. The Wolfpack had beaten her Wolverines three times, and denied her once when she was at Charles City.

Saturday, the Wolverines (44-3) broke through, ending Western’s 56-match winning streak against Iowa competition.

“Every (postseason match), we’d won in three, and we wanted to win this one in three, too,” said setter Abbie Perez. “We really, really wanted to beat that team.”

They did it, decisively.

“They blocked well, and their defense … balls that typically hit the floor for us … they were in the right place at the right time,” said Western Coach Tammi Veerbeek. “They found a way to get the ball up. They were very scrappy.”

Both teams are youthful. Two of the Wolverines’ top three hitters are freshmen, including Briana Weber, who posted 15 kills and was chosen as the all-tournament captain.

Perez, the owner of 39 assists,¬†joined her on the all-tournament team, as did Western’s Jamie Gesink (another freshman) and Brooke Wolterstorff, Samantha Meyers of Grundy Center and Josie Brackey of Lake Mills.

Dike-New Hartford pulled away late in the first game, then made the key plays in the final two sets.

Trailing 28-27, the Wolverines closed Game 2 with three straight points, capped by Weber’s ace. Then in the third game, the Wolverines broke away from a 21-21 tie.

Weber had kills on two of the Wolverines’ final four points, then freshman Lizzy Blough closed it with a kill.

Haley Moss, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, led Western Christian (49-2) with 11 kills.


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