116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WEST LIBERTY – At the Western Dubuque volleyball tournament on Saturday, West Branch ended Class 3A No. 1 West Liberty's unbeaten start to its volleyball season.
Tuesday at the Comets home gymnasium, the Bears proved it was no accident.
Senior Haley Poula led West Branch with 15 kills, while teammate Trystin Luneckas added 38 assists as the Class 2A fourth-ranked Bears swept West Liberty, 25-20, 28-26, 25-19 and clinched the River Valley Conference South championship.
'Having that (Saturday win) there was like an extra confidence booster,” Poula said. 'We knew that they would come out and just try and get us back. We came out as hard as we could.”
West Branch (24-1) led throughout the first game, utilizing surges of 6-2 and 5-2 to pull away from the host Comets, 25-20. The second game was pivotal, as West Liberty rallied from a pair of five-point deficits and scored five-straight points to tie the game at 21-21. The game closed with four ties and five lead changes, the last capped by a pair of kills by Bailey Lukavsky and Allyson Simpson as West Branch took the second game, 28-26.
'The nice thing is, these girls don't get rattled,” West Branch Coach Josh Lukavsky said. 'They don't get real high, but they don't get low. I think we just kind of kept them with that steady pace.”
The West Branch front wall of Poula, Luneckas and Abby Knoop gave West Liberty a lot of trouble throughout the match. Knoop and Lukavsky finished with nine digs as the Bears closed game three with 14 of 22 points for the sweep.
Senior Hailey Daufeldt led West Liberty (24-2) with 15 kills. Cassedi Simon – a Class 3A first team all-state selection last season – added 28 assists.
West Branch hosts Northeast Goose Lake on Thursday. With two wins in a week over previously-unbeaten West Liberty, the Bears are surging toward postseason play.
'We're really confident,” said Poula, an Upper Iowa commit. 'We know that if we come out and play our game, there's nothing we can't do.”
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