CEDAR RAPIDS — Late deficit, Game 2. No big deal.
Same story, Game 3. No sweat.
“We just had the mentality that we weren’t going to lose,” Aleena Hobbs said after Cedar Rapids Washington swept Linn-Mar, 25-21, 25-20, 25-19 in the regular-season volleyball finale for both teams Tuesday night at Washington High School.
The Warriors had the most mojo at the end of each of the three sets, and sent nine seniors out winners in their final match on their home court.
“It’s crazy. I’ve been playing here so long,” said Dani Franklin, who posted 17 kills. “It hasn’t hit me yet. I’m certain it will.”
Washington (16-19 overall, 4-2 MVC Valley Division) emerged from a 20-all tie in the first game, blocked their way to the final seven points of the second set, then closed the finale with a 13-2 spree.
Hobbs added 12 kills, and Victoria Adkins dished out 32 assists. And they didn’t allow an ace serve by the Lions (23-14, 2-4) all match.
“Serve reception, that’s a really key point,” said Washington Coach Amy Faulkner. “If it’s not on, you can’t get your offense going. Then you send over a free ball, and your defense is out of whack.”
Linn-Mar has enjoyed some special moments in Teresa Kehe’s first year as head coach. This wasn’t one of them.
“I’ve very disappointed,” Kehe said. “We have the ability. The kids just haven’t always been able to handle the pressure of the situation. We’ve put them in positions they haven’t been accustomed to. Sometimes they’ve handled it, sometimes they haven’t.”
The pressure moments, the clutch plays … most of those belonged to the Warriors.
After dropping the first set, Linn-Mar was poised to square the match, leading 20-18 in Game 2. Then came the Warriors’ block party.
Hobbs made a defensive play at the net. Then Octavia Cox added two and Adkins had another. Suddenly it was set point, and Franklin terminated it with an ace.
Washington trailed the final set, 17-12, before dominating play the rest of the way. Caiti Peterson ignited the comeback with a couple aces, then much of the rest of the set was a bevy of kills by Franklin and Hobbs.
Abby McGowan led the Lions with nine kills.
Both teams are assigned to Class 5A Region 7 for postseason play. Linn-Mar will host Cedar Rapids Jefferson in a quarterfinal match Monday; Washington travels to Pleasant Valley for a semifinal Oct. 31.
CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 3, LINN-MAR 0
|Linn-Mar (23-14, 2-4)||21||20||19|
|Cedar Rapids Washington (16-19, 4-2)||25||25||25|
Serving: Linn-Mar 56-61 (.918), Washington 64-74 (.865)
Aces: Linn-Mar 0, Washington 7 (Caiti Peterson 3)
Kills: Linn-Mar 31 (Abby McGowan 9), Washington 37 (Dani Franklin 17)
Assists: Linn-Mar 28 (Sarah Renner 20), Washington 36 (Victoria Adkins 32)
Blocks: Linn-Mar 5 (Renner 3), Washington 10 (Octavia Cox 4)