CEDAR RAPIDS — The Tipton Tigers have skill and guts. But they don’t have 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-3.
Carroll Kuemper does. And the Knights also have a championship trophy.
Top-ranked Kuemper utilized its size advantage and defeated No. 2 Tipton, 19-25, 25-16, 25-12, 25-22, for the Class 3A state volleyball title Friday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We’re not used to seeing that kind of height,” Tipton’s Amanda Smith said. “We probably didn’t adjust as well as we could have, but we fought for every single point.”
Kuemper (45-1) won its 29th consecutive match and gathered its first state title in volleyball.
“I can’t put it into words,” said Kuemper’s Aimee Adams, who collected 22 kills. “I keep thinking I’m dreaming. I’m still in shock.
“Tipton has a great team. We saw them at the Iowa State camp this summer, and they’ve gotten a lot better since then.”
Adams, a senior committed to the University of South Dakota, stands 6-1. Junior Kara Peter (11 kills) is 6-3. And that was a very difficult matchup for Tipton (39-4).
“Kara’s an amazing middle hitter, and amazing blocker,” Adams said. “When the points get close, we make eye contact, and I tell her we need a block.”
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Tipton was brilliant early, pulling away from 17-all to win the first set behind University of Utah recruit Sommer Daniel, who had eight of her 18 kills in the first set.
Daniel was named the all-tournament captain.
“That first set ... I’ll remember every single point,” Smith said. “We came out strong.”
But the Knights’ size took its toll.
Kuemper dominated the second and third sets. Then, trailing 11-10 in the fourth, the Knights scored six straight points. Tipton cut a seven-point deficit to 22-20 and 24-22 before a tip by Peter wrapped it up.
Adams, Peter and setter Maci Overmohle (49 assists) represented Kuemper on the all-tournament team, while Smith joined Daniel. The rest of the squad consisted of Mount Vernon’s Rory Light and Osage’s Danielle Johnson.
Smith, Blake Ehler and Kamryn Chapman posted seven kills apiece for the Tigers.
Calonder called the season “obviously, one for the record books,” but despite the loss of six seniors — including four starters — “we’re not going away.”
“It was a great season,” Daniel said. “To be the first (Tipton) team to get to the finals, I’ll never forget it. We lose a great senior class, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll be back.”
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