Cedar Falls earns its first state volleyball title

Class 5A: Tigers sweep Valley for 29th straight win

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CEDAR RAPIDS — For a year, the Cedar Falls Tigers held a vision.

“We remembered watching the other team celebrate last year,” Tayah Mahi said. “We sure didn’t want that to happen again.”

This time, was their moment. Their dogpile.

Their championship.

Top-ranked Cedar Falls concluded a season of dominance with its first state volleyball championship Friday morning, claiming the Class 5A title, 25-21, 25-19, 25-16, over No. 2 West Des Moines Valley at the U.S. Cellular Center.

“It’s unreal,” Claire Gerdes said. “We’ve been waiting for this for an entire year.

“Ending last season with a loss (in the final to Ankeny Centennial), it gave us so much motivation.”

Cedar Falls (43-2) won its final 29 matches, its final 49 sets. This one, like most of the others, was never in doubt. Valley (41-8) didn’t hold a lead in any of the sets after either team reached double figures.

A junior and a University of Nebraska commit, Madi Kubik posted 31 kills in each of Valley’s first two matches here this week. Cedar Falls held her to 13.

“I didn’t sleep last night after seeing the ball hit the floor (from Kubik’s hits) the last couple days,” said Cedar Falls Coach Matt Johnson, who earned his second title (the first was at Charles City in 2012). “We wanted to make sure she saw our hands on the other side of the net.”

Mahi, a setter who will play at the University of Northern Iowa next year, was the all-tournament captain after dishing out 24 assists. She was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Cynthia Wolf and Taylor Lynch, Valley’s Kubik and Olivia Curry, plus Megan Renner of Linn-Mar and Devyn Robinson of Centennial.

Cedar Falls out-killed Valley by a 46-23 margin. Gerdes had 10, Akacia Brown nine, Grace Burken eight, Lynch seven. The Tigers’ triumph was the first for a Mississippi Valley Conference team in the big-school class since Iowa City West went back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

Watch: Cedar Falls wins 5A state volleyball title


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