Prep Volleyball

Ankeny shakes off nerves to beat Centennial in state volleyball quarterfinals

No. 2-ranked Hawkettes advance to 5A semifinals with 3-1 win

CEDAR RAPIDS — No. 2 Ankeny had the resume and the past results.

What it didn’t have was a great amount of state volleyball tournament experience. That showed a bit in the first set of Monday’s Class 5A state quarterfinal against Ankeny Centennial at Alliant Energy PowerHouse.

Centennial took the first game, but the Hawkettes (21-2) rebounded for a 22-25, 25-12, 25-18, 25-17 victory over No. 7 Centennial (16-11), advancing to a 10 a.m. Wednesday semifinal matchup against No. 3 Pleasant Valley.

“We were here last year, but we lost eight seniors from that team,” said veteran Ankeny Coach Dave Whims. “A lot of these girls hadn’t experienced anything like this.”

Fortunately for Whims and the Hawkettes, he had a couple of seniors who had been at state. Notre Dame recruit Phyona Schrader and McKenna Scheib helped the Hawks regroup.

“Phyona and McKenna put things on their shoulders and took over,” Whims said. “They stepped up their games and I think that helped the others relax.”

Schrader and Scheib each finished with 12 kills. Schrader also finished with 38 assists. She said it helped opening against an in-town rival.

“It was actually really exciting to play against them,” Schrader said. “They are our rivals and we are so familiar with them. Once we got that first set out of the way, I think we got more comfortable, made less errors and just played our game.”

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Ankeny actually fell behind 5-1 in Game 2 before scoring nine of the next 10 points to take control. Scheib said there were plenty of nervous moments.

“I think after the first set, we all thought that we can’t just let this happen,” she said. “I think we really proved ourselves in the second set.”

Even though the number of fans were limited for the match, Scheib said it was the first time in a long time that the Hawks had played in front of any crowd at all.

“We haven’t had a crowd the entire season because of rules in our county,” she said. “Being able to have some of my friends here and cheer me on was really exciting. We appreciated it a lot.”

Ava Reynolds added 11 kills for Ankeny.

Olivia Anderson led Ankeny Centennial with eight kills. Morgan DenBeste and Reagan Angus each had 16 assists.

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