CEDAR RAPIDS — It was everything it was supposed to be.
Dike-New Hartford came back from two sets down, then survived a match point in the final game to outlast Western Christian in a breathtaking Class 2A championship classic, 18-25, 18-25, 25-18, 27-15, 16-14, at the state volleyball tournament Saturday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
“I’m very shaky right now,” said DNH sophomore Briana Weber, named the all-tournament captain after a 22-kill performance. “It was a lot of fun. There was a lot of excitement.”
These teams were ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in 2A (and probably would be ranked the same in an all-class ranking), and both were in the top 30 nationally by prepvolleyball.com. It figured to be a beauty, and it was.
“It was great volleyball,” Western Coach Tammi Veerbeek said after leaving a locker room of heartbreak. “Dike-New Hartford is a heck of a team. We had our chances, but sometimes it goes the other way and we have to accept that.”
Dike-New Hartford (45-0) ran its winning streak to 57 matches and vanquished Western (43-4) for the second straight year.
Last year, it was a sweep. This year, it was a memorable marathon.
Western owned the first two games before the Wolverines adjusted.
“We were really on our heels at the start,” said DNH Coach Diane Harms. “Then we started sliding Brooke Morgan, and she came up with quite a few big plays for us.”
Morgan said, “A lot of it was focus and passing. When we serve-receive, we can do a lot of things.”
At 6-foot-4, Morgan was merely the second tallest player on the floor. Western’s Haley Moss is 6-6, and that’s no stretch.
DNH ran through the third game, then had to sweat out a late Wolfpack rally in the fourth. The Wolverines led 24-20 before Western erased four set points.
Weber’s kill gave DNH a 25-24 lead before Moss’ tip tied it. Kills by Morgan and Weber gave the Wolverines the set and forced a Game 5.
The final set contained 10 ties. Western had the first big opportunity, taking a 13-10 lead. But DNH answered with three straight points to get right back in it.
Brooke Wolterstorff’s kill gave Western match point, 14-13, then the Wolverines made the final statement.
Weber had a kill, then Lizzy Blough followed with another. Finally, a spike by Western’s Jade Schaap sailed just long, and the Wolverines were champions again.
Western’s two-year title drought its its first since 1999 and 2000.
“We’ll get through it,” Veerbeek said. “The sun will come up tomorrow.”
Weber was joined on the all-tournament team by DNH setter Rachel Koop (46 assists), Wolterstorff (17 kills) and Jamie Gesink (44 assists) of Western, Katie Kuck of Council Bluffs St. Albert and Brandi Bueltel of Carroll Kuemper.