CEDAR RAPIDS — A lot changed in 2 1/2 months. Namely, Devyn Robinson was back.
Second-ranked Ankeny Centennial captured its fourth Class 5A state volleyball championship in five years, sweeping No. 1 Cedar Falls, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23, Friday morning at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“Everybody needed to bring their ‘A’ game, and everybody contributed,” Robinson said after the Jaguars (41-3) snapped the Tigers’ 75-match win streak. “We weren’t nervous, because we knew we had all the right things we needed to win.”
When Cedar Falls (46-1) handled the Jaguars at the Centennial Invitational on Aug. 26, Robinson was in Honduras, playing for the USA junior national team. The junior is one of four Division-I recruits on the Centennial roster, and the Jaguars were simply superior Friday.
“We’ve cleaned up a lot since we played them in August,” said Centennial’s Kenna Sauer, who teamed with Robinson and Ari Winters to make life rough on the Tigers. “We might have been a little timid last time, and we didn’t have Devyn.”
Sauer was the all-tournament captain after recording 13 kills. Robinson (12 kills) and Winters (eight) also made the all-tournament team, as did Cedar Falls’ Emerson Green and Akacia Brown, Linn-Mar’s Megan Renner and West Des Moines Valley’s Madi Kubik.
Cedar Falls held a 16-14 lead in the opening set, but Centennial stung the Tigers with an 11-2 run at the end. Robinson posted three kills, a block and an ace in the closing surge.
The Jaguars pulled away from a 7-7 deadlock in the second set, then came from behind in the third.
Down 12-8, Centennial scored six consecutive points to take the lead. Cedar Falls reclaimed the upper hand at 18-16, but the Jaguars five straight points and held on.
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Cedar Falls won its last 29 matches on its way to the 2017 championship, then with a new nucleus dominated by juniors, won its first 46 this season.
“I’m so proud of what we did this season,” Green said. “It didn’t end the way we wanted, but it was a huge accomplishment.”
The Tigers will enter the 2019 season as the 5A team to beat.
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