Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – Every team wants to be playing its best volleyball at the end of the season.
City High was doing exactly that entering the Class 5A, Region 8 title game showdown with fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
The Little Hawks continued that trend on Monday in stretches in the first and third sets but in between it was too much depth, too much balance and just too much J-Hawks.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson (37-6) rallied late for a win in the opening set and never let No. 13 City High back into the match in a 25-20, 25-11, 25-11 sweep on Monday in Cedar Rapids.
“We’ve been playing really well but Jefferson is a tough matchup for anyone,” City High coach Tricia Carty said. “I was glad we could show in sets one and three what is characteristic of our volleyball. I’m glad we came out and competed.”
City High (24-13) had won 17 of its last 22 matches and five of its last seven entering the regional final with one of those losses a two-set sweep at the hands of Cedar Rapids Jefferson at the MVC tournament.
The Little Hawks weren’t closer than nine points in either set in the MVC tourney loss to the J-Hawks.
On Monday the Little Hawks were ready to play.
City High scored four consecutive points to take a 15-14 lead in the opening set.
Junior Kelsey Law, who missed the previous seven matches with an ankle injury, started the 4-0 spurt with a kill.
Senior Ellie Evans followed with back-to-back kills before Mackenzie Murphy capped the run with an ace block.
City High led again at 16-15 after a Murphy kills and tied the score at 18-all on an Evans kill.
“We were executing what we needed to in serving tough and being able to pass,” Carty said. “They are a very, very skilled team with tons of weapons and we were able to show what we were capable of in the first and third sets because we were executing. We played more than 20 points or really good volleyball.”
It was all Jefferson from that point on.
The J-Hawks scored seven of the final nine points to earn a 25-21 win in the opening set and then rolled to a 25-11 win the second set.
Jefferson broke open a 6-5 set in the second with an 8-0 run that three kills by junior Cassidy Boche.
The J-Hawks finished with a 13-5 edge in kills in the second set.
“We didn’t have any type of consistent passing and one thing kind of led to the next,” Carty said. “We couldn’t get back into our passing technique to give our hitters a chance to develop something.”
City High would not go quietly.
The Little Hawks trailed 22-15 late in the third set but clawed back to within 23-20 with a 5-1 run that featured two kills from Law.
Jefferson answered with kills by seniors Sydney Kloubec and Lindsey Culver to secure the win.
The 24 wins for City High were eight more than last season and Monday marked the fourth regional final appearance in six seasons for the Little Hawks.
“I told them I’m really proud of them it’s been a privilege to coach some of them for four years,” Carty said. It’s been a lot this year, just a lot of different things and learning and developing and changing things and I’m proud of how hard they worked and what they were able to show about our program.”
Murphy led City High with seven kills, two ace serves and two ace blocks while Law had six kills and Evans and CeCelia Aldrich-Ingram each had four.
Five J-Hawks had five or more kills led by senior Sydney Kloubec with a match-high 14 and Culver with seven kills.
Jefferson returned to the Class 5A state tournament for the second year in a row and will face MVC rival Linn-Mar in the opening round on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
“It really starts with their first ball contact,” Carty said of Jefferson. “They are all superb with ball control and that allows them to utilize all of their weapons and be very diverse in what they are doing so they can create a lot of one-on-one situations for their hitters because they can put the ball to a very skilled setter every time.
Maddy Baxter 5-1-1, Kaylee Donner 1-1-0, Cassidy Boche 7-1-1, Maggie Peters 3-0-1, Lindsey Culver 7-2-2, Sydney Kloubec 14-1-0, Peyton Brockovich 5-0-2, Team 42-6-7.
Assists – Maddy Baxter 28
CeCelia Aldrich-Ingram 4-0-0, Mackenzie Murphy 7-2-2, Joslyn Becker 0-0-1, Ellie Evans 4-1-0, Kelsey Law 6-0-0, Mia Loughran 1-0-0, Makayla Ribble 0-1-0, Team 22-4-3.
Assists – Lindsey Bolton 10, Makayla Ribble 8, Ellie Evans 1
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