MARION — When the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union ranked Tipton No. 1 in Class 3A volleyball on Thursday, the Tigers knew other teams would come after them hard.
Tipton appears to be up to the challenge.
“This is a really unique group on so many different ways,” Tipton Coach Amy Calonder said after the Tigers rallied past No. 5 Davenport Assumption, 8-21, 21-16, 15-12, in the championship match of the Linn-Mar Invitational Saturday at Linn-Mar High School. “They are able to overcome many things. They found out on Thursday. We were sitting there working our home game and I said, ‘Oh, we’re No. 1.’ They were like, “Oh, we’re No. 1. Hey, we’re No. 1’ and that was it. They know they have a huge bullseye on their back and it showed there. Assumption was gunning for us. We said, ‘People are not going to just give you games. You have got to go after it.’ They did there and that was great.”
After winning its first two pool-play matches over Center Point-Urbana and Fort Madison, Tipton was upset by host Linn-Mar in three sets to close out pool play. During the break before championship bracket play began, the Tigers held an emotional team meeting.
“We all just realized what our jobs were and that we needed to do those jobs right then and there,” Tipton senior Kamryn Chapman said. “This tournament is a good tournament and there is no time to sit back and wait around.”
Tipton (16-2) turned the tables on Linn-Mar in the first match of the championship bracket, 14-21, 21-12, 15-13 and quickly dispatched another 5A school in Cedar Rapids Kennedy. That set up the title match against Assumption, which attempted to stake its own to claim to No. 1 in 3A by dominating the first set. The whitewash prompted a clear message from senior Sommer Daniel, a returning all-state selection.
“We kind of just decided that we weren’t going to lose to them,” said Daniel, who will play college volleyball at the University of Utah next year. “We were in the huddle and I said, ‘They are going to want to beat us really, really bad.’ So I basically said, ‘We want it more.’ We showed that.”
Tipton rallied and claimed the next two sets for the title. Despite losing six seniors off last year’s state runner-up squad, the lineup additions of sophomore Carly Puffer, juniors Kelley Lieser and Alex Hoffman, plus seniors Grace Nichols and Bailey Schmidt have the Tigers believing another charge at a state championship is inevitable.
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“I had always known it was going to be like that,” Daniel said. “I was very confident in all of these girls.”
At Linn-Mar High School
Cedar Rapids Kennedy def. Marion, 21-11, 21-15
Davenport Assumption def. Sumner-Fredricksburg, 21-11, 21-13
Marion def. Sumner-Fredricksburg, 21-13, 21-15
Cedar Rapids Kennedy def. Davenport Assumption, 21-18, 21-12
Davenport Assumption def. Marion, 9-21, 21-19, 15-13
Cedar Rapids Kennedy def. Sumner-Fredricksburg, 21-12, 21-11
Tipton def. Center Point-Urbana, 21-19, 23-25, 15-7
Linn-Mar def. Fort Madison, 21-12, 21-12
Center Point-Urbana def. Linn-Mar, 21-15, 17-21, 15-12
Tipton def. Fort Madison, 21-5, 21-14
Center Point-Urbana def. Fort Madison, 18-21, 25-23, 15-12
Linn-Mar def. Tipton, 21-17, 19-21, 15-13
Dubuque Hempstead def. Solon, 22-20, 21-12
Pleasant Valley def. Fairfield, 21-15, 21-11
Pleasant Valley def. Solon, 21-18, 21-16
Dubuque Hempstead def. Fairfield, 21-6, 21-18
Solon def. Fairfield, 21-8, 21-10
Pleasant Valley def. Dubuque Hempstead, 21-15, 12-21, 15-12
Cedar Rapids Kennedy def. Marion, 21-14, 23-21
Pleasant Valley def. Center Point-Urbana, 21-10, 21-19
Tipton def. Linn-Mar, 14-21, 21-12, 15-13
Davenport Assumption def. Dubuque Hempstead, 21-19, 21-8
Tipton def. Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 21-18, 21-12
Davenport Assumption def. Pleasant Valley, 21-17, 18-21, 15-10
Tipton def. Davenport Assumption, 8-21, 21-16, 15-12
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