Photo by Rob Howe
Your Prep Sports
NORTH LIBERTY – At 22-1 and riding a nine-match winning streak following a sweep of Dubuque Hempstead on Tuesday evening Liberty High has already established itself as one of the top teams in Class 5A.
A scary thought for future Liberty High opponents as the postseason approaches – the Lightning are still a work in progress.
Class 5A second-ranked Liberty High was impressive as usual in its 25-19, 25-15, 25-22 sweep of No. 14 Dubuque Hempstead (13-8) on Tuesday at Liberty High.
Despite the success veteran head coach Randy Dolson believes the best volleyball for the Lightning is still to be played.
“There’s no question we can still get better,” Dolson said. “I think our last, best matches were Dowling and Ankeny at the Caroline Found Invitational. Since then we have been playing well don’t get me wrong but we haven’t taken that next step.”
Liberty High was plenty sharp on Tuesday, improving to 5-1 in Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division play with its ninth consecutive win.
Freshman Shelby Kimm and Cassidy Hartmann combined for 18 kills as Liberty High earned its eighth sweep in its past nine matches.
The Lightning have dropped just one set since its only loss of the season, a four-set setback at Dubuque Wahlert on September 17.
“We have a lot to build on but we can still can play better,” Hartman said. “That’s exciting to think about for the rest of the year.”
On a night when Liberty High honored its six seniors it was the two freshman that got the Lightning going early.
Kimm had five of her seven kills in the opening set as Liberty High used a 10-2 run to overcome a 14-10 deficit in the opening set.
The 5-foot-10, Kimm had three kills during the 10-2 spurt and Hartmann added two as Liberty High built a 20-16 lead.
“I think we all kind of playing for those seniors,” Kimm said. “It was mainly about playing for them tonight.”
Liberty High never trailed in the second set.
Hartmann started a 4-0 run to open the set with a kill and Liberty High bolted to a 12-4 lead it would never give up.
Liberty High led 18-9 in the third set but Hempstead got back into the set with a 10-2 run and eventually pulled even at 21-21 on a Corinne Meier block.
Hartmann ignited a 3-0 Liberty High burst with a kill and an ace block.
Kimm gave the Lightning a 24-21 lead with a kill and following a Meier kill senior LeeAnn Potter clinched the match with a kill.
“It makes us more confident because we believe that we can do a lot better than we are even with us being 22-1,” Potter said. “Knowing we can play even better is a confidence boost.”
Hartman had a match-high 11 kills to lead a Liberty High attacked that featured six players with three or more kills.
Potter and Syndey Woods each had four while Rylee Fay and Lauren Roman each added three.
“We are balanced there is no doubt about it,” Dolson said. “Very rarely will we have two or three
Liberty High (Kills-Aces-Blocks)
Addie Schmierer 0-2-0, Lauren Roman 3-0-1, Rylee Fay 3-3-1, Sydney Woods 4-1-1, LeeAnn Potter 4-0-0, Hailey Hested 0-2-0, Shelby Kimm 7-0-1, Cassidy Hartman 11-0-1, Team 32-8-5.
Assists – Rylee Fay 17, Hailey Hested 9
Dubuque Hempstead (Kills-Aces-Blocks)
Laney Herman 1-0-0, Corinne Meier 10-0-2, Ashley Glennon 5-0-2, Leah Moeller 0-0-2, Becca Lockwood 7-0-1, Megan Hammerand 1-0-0, Morgan Hawkins 2-0-1, Team 26-8-0
Assists – Morgan Hawkins 14, Laney Herman 6
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