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The Gazette KCRG
Posted October 29, 2012
3A-4A-5A volleyball regional finals

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Melissa Everett celebrates a point with teammates during a match earlier this season. The Saints face Fairfield in a Class 4A regional final Tuesday at Washington, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

Tuesday’s area regional final volleyball matches for Class 5A, 4A and 3A:

CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY vs. DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD (Class 5A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Monticello

Records and rankings: Kennedy is 24-12 and ranked ninth; Hempstead is 28-6 and No. 3.

Notable: Kennedy is a win away from its fifth consecutive state tournament; the Cougars have been semifinalists each of the last four years. Hempstead was an MVC Mississippi Division co-champion and claimed the MVC tournament crown. The Mustangs only have two seniors on their roster. One of them, Audrey Reeg, leads the team with a .443 kill efficiency and 3.87 kills per game. Kennedy is led by its middle hitters, Jordan Calef (3.22 kills per game) and Lexi Rogers (2.94). The Cougars started the season slow (1-5 at one point), but have picked up steam; they have won eight of their last nine matches. Question is, who will be Kennedy’s setter Tuesday? Bre Boote, Anna Fluent, Rylee Mitchell, or (most likely) a combination thereof?

CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON vs. PLEASANT VALLEY (Class 5A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at West Branch

Records and rankings: Washington is 27-13; Pleasant Valley is 36-1 and ranked No. 2.

Notable: Washington hasn’t been to the state tournament (1994) since before most of the current players were born. The Warriors emerged from a five-set marathon with Linn-Mar to advance, their third win over the Lions in the last two weeks. Washington has won 10 of its last 12 matches, including a run to the finals of the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament. Still, the Warriors will have their hands full against a PV squad that has won 32 straight matches and has dropped only one set in the last month. Three Spartans average at least 2.5 kills per game, led by Chloe Miller. Washington is led by attackers Dani Franklin (2.56 kills per game) and Aleena Hobbs (2.44).

IOWA CITY HIGH vs. BURLINGTON (Class 5A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Iowa City West

Records and rankings: No. 4 City High is 28-8; Burlington is 5-19.

Notable: City Coach Craig Pitcher said Thursday’s five-set win over Iowa City West felt like a regional final, and in reality, that was probably the state-qualifying match from this region. This figures to be an anticlimatic sweep. Last year’s state runner-up, City High has been burdened with injuries much of the season, but is at full strength now. Abby Saehler recorded 21 kills in the regional final, and Michaela Nelson had six of her 16 in the final set as City rallied from an 11-9 deficit in Game 5. Burlington advanced by beating Ottumwa in five games, a victory that broke a five-match losing streak.

SOLON vs. OSKALOOSA (Class 4A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Victor

Records and rankings: Solon is 30-4 and ranked No. 6; Oskaloosa is 19-16.

Notable: Peter Gustin took over the team just as the Spartans were beginning practice in August, and the transition appears to have gone very smoothly. Solon went through the rugged Wamac East without a defeat, then followed that with the championship of the Wamac tournament. The Spartans carry an 11-match winning streak, rallying from a one-set deficit to beat Pella in four in the reginal semis. Kelsey Cave carries a lofty .460 kill efficiency and averages 2.99 kills per set. Oskaloosa swept Indinaola in the regional semifinals, only its third win in the last eight matches.

CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER vs. FAIRFIELD (Class 4A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Washington, Iowa

Records and rankings: Xavier is 25-11 and ranked No. 9; Fairfield is 26-7.

Notable: A rugged schedule has well prepared the Saints for a postseaason run; they played 21 matches against 5A competition in the regular season. Xavier is the champion of the MVC Valley Division with a 6-0 league record. Kayla Torson has enjoyed an excellent sophomore season, averaging 3.91 kills per set with a .418 kill efficiency. Sarah Homan averages more than 10 assists per game. Fairfield is the undefeated champion of the Southeast Conference. Sidney Baumann leads the Trojans at 2.48 kills per set, but none of the Trojans’ leading hitters are above .200 on kill efficiency.

WEST DELAWARE vs. DUBUQUE WAHLERT (Class 4A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Delhi

Records and rankings: West Delaware is 30-11 and ranked eighth; Wahlert (17-17) is No. 13.

Notable: It’s yet another meeting between the Hawks and their longtime postseason nemesis. West Delaware does have a win over the Golden Eagles this season, and rolled through its first two regional matches. Leslie Hoffmann leads the way with 3.79 kills per game and a .432 kill efficiency while Cassie Vaske adds 2.27 kills per game and leads the team in digs. Wahlert took down No. 10 Marion in the regional semifinals, but it’s been a relatively down year for the perennial power. The Golden Eagles rely on depth — five players average at least a kill per game.

MAQUOKETA vs. NORTH SCOTT (Class 4A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at DeWitt

Records and rankings: Maquoketa is 31-6 and ranked No. 7; North Scott (26-5) is No. 5.

Notable: It has lived in the shadow of Solon in the Wamac East, but Maquoketa has quietly assembled an excellent season and shoots for its second straight state berth. The Cardinals are an athletic outfit, led by Devon O’Connell (3.56 kills per game, .315 kill efficiency) and Allison Vandemore (2.78, .458). They come into the regional final with eight wins in the last nine outings. North Scott shared the Mississippi Athletic Conference championship, and all five of the Lancers’ defeats are against high-quality opposition. The Lancers are a senior-dominated group, led by Erin Mead and Emily Hermiston.

UNION vs. OSAGE (Class 3A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Clarksville

Records and rankings: Union is 32-7 and ranked No. 7; Osage is 23-16.

Notable: Union made its first state tournament last year, and is favored to make it two in a row. The Knights already have beaten two ranked teams in regional play (No. 13 Waterloo Columbus in a five-game quarterfinal and No. 12 Dyersville Beckman in a four-set semifinal), so this might be their easiest match of the postseason series. Sam Barz (3.61 kills per set, .282 kill efficiency) and Payton Hilton (3.16, .364) lead Union’s attack. Osage’s top four hitters consist of three juniors of a sophomore. Senior Madeline Miller is the setter and averages 8.23 assists per set.

CASCADE vs. DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION (Class 3A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Clarence

Records and rankings: Cascade is 23-10; second-ranked Assumption is 27-7.

Notable: The winner of this match advances to the state tournament for the first time. Despite the loss of Allison Gibbs, who suffered a broken leg in the Tri-Rivers Conference tournament, Cascade has marched to the regional finals. With Gibbs out, the Cougars have taken on a balanced look; Katelyn Green leads active players with 1.93 kills per game. Abbey Meyer is the 3A leader in digs, at 5.48 per game. Each of Assumption’s seven losses have come to larger schools — three to Class 5A teams, four to 4A squads. Danielle Cabel paces the Knights’ offense with 3.84 kills per game. 

MOUNT VERNON vs. WEST LIBERTY (Class 3A)

Time and site: 7 p.m., at Cedar Rapids Jefferson

Records and rankings: Mount Vernon is 26-10 and ranked 10th; West Liberty is 28-9 and No. 8.

Notable: One of just two 3A matches that feature two ranked teams. Both teams have swept their way through regional play. Mount Vernon has cut its teeth against the grueling Wamac Conference East Division, a league that has four teams playing in regional finals Tuesday. West Liberty was the Cedar Valley Conference runner-up, but won the CVC league tournament and qualified for state last year. Junior Hannah Whitley is Mount Vernon’s kill leader at 2.40 per game and owns a .330 kill efficiency. Ken Simon is the leading hitter for West Liberty at 2.48 kills per game while freshman setter Cassedi Simon averages 7.25 assists per set.

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