It was a score that sought multiple confirmations.
All sources — Wednesday’s Gazette, Quik Stats Iowa and the web sites for the Mississippi Valley Conference and IGHSAU — said the same thing:
Linn-Mar 3, Dubuque Wahlert 0.
Yes, the Lions really did sweep the former MVC Valley Division leaders. At Wahlert. Without their leading hitter.
“We really put it all together,” said interim co-coach Jenny Lucas. “We’ve talked all season about staying focused and playing three good sets.”
Not long ago, the season appeared lost for the Lions. Coach Rob Justis resigned Sept. 11, and the team was sitting 3-8 at the time. Lucas and Erin Downing were appointed as interim coaches for the remainder of the season, and the team has responded.
Linn-Mar (9-12 overall, 1-2 MVC Valley Division) has won six of 10 matches since Lucas and Downing took over.
“Every team goes through adversity, and you try to talk kids through it,” Lucas said. “We have a team that can get stuff done, and we have to stay positive on our side of the net.”
The cards were stacked against the Lions on Tuesday. Wahlert is a difficult place to win anyway, and Megan Allmandinger — the Lions’ best hitter — was sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Sophomores Meg Gostonczik and Sami Boekhoff collected nine and eight kills, respectively. Another soph, Sarah Renner, distributed 27 assists, and the Lions pulled an improbable sweep.
“I think we turned a corner,” Lucas said. “It’s good that the kids can see all the good things they’re capable of from here on out.”
Lucas said that she and Downing have developed “a mutual agreement” on all things necessary to run a varsity program.
“We’ve figured out our roles,” she said. “Erin is very aggressive, and she’s taken on that role in practice and game situations. I take care of the rotations and lineup sheets and all that.”
Friday is pairings day
Regional pairings will be released by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union on Friday.
The tournament series begins Oct. 16 for Class 1A teams, Oct. 17 in 2A and Oct. 22 in 3A, 4A and 5A.
Regional finals are Oct. 30 for the largest three classes, Oct. 31 for the smallest two. The state tournament is Nov. 7-10 at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Live on Channel 9.2
KCRG-TV will televise three matches in the next two weeks on Channel 9.2.
Iowa City High visits Iowa City West on Tuesday, Solon hosts West Delaware on Oct. 4 and Cedar Rapids Xavier is at Cedar Rapids Prairie on Oct. 9.