CEDAR RAPIDS – No. 1 Mediapolis was in serious trouble again here Friday at the state volleyball tournament.
This time, the Bullettes didn’t have the miracle comeback they had Thursday in their quarterfinal win over Iowa Falls-Alden.
Union made sure of that. The Knights were trailing 24-21 in Game 2 and it looked like it could be a long, drawn-out battle.
But Coach Brian Jesse’s team rattled off four straight points. Then after Mediapolis tied the game at 25, the Knights scored two quick points to grab a 2-0 lead. Union (35-7) carried the momentum on to the third game to complete a 25-18, 27-25, 25-15 sweep at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena to earn a spot in Saturday afternoon’s Class 3A title match against MOC-Floyd Valley, which advanced with a win over Mount Vernon.
Mediapolis finishes its season at 43-1.
“We didn’t think we played especially well in the second game,” Jessie said. “To be able to come back and fight through it and get that second game was a big momentum shift.”
“If Mediapolis had won that second game, I think we would have been in for a real dogfight.”
Union was able neutralize Mediapolis’ big hitters across the front line. Jessica Holsteen, a standout in Thursday’s win over Iowa Falls-Alden, had just seven kills in 31 attempts. Her sister, Rachel, had five kills in 22 attempts.
“I think our hitting and blocking were real solid today,” Jessie said. “We did a good job of just keeping the pressure on them…and when we keep the pressure on we wear people down sometimes and that may have been the case (today).”
The Knights’ two big hitters did their part. Seniors Sam Barz (13 kills) and Payton Hilton (12 kills) were constantly on the move which, at times, confused the Mediapolis blockers.
Mediapolis’ lofty ranking wasn’t something Jessie said his players worried about.
“I think our girls think we can compete with anybody in 3A,” Jessie said. “It is a wide-open class and it is thought that anybody could win it, so we told them it might as well be us.”
They will get that chance Saturday.