CEDAR RAPIDS — Simply put, it was too much Morgan Middleton for Red Oak.
The Clarion CGD senior hitter pounded home 23 kills, including 11 alone in the first set as the No. 2 Cowgirls posted a 25-13, 25-22, 25-19 win over No. 9 Red Oak in a Class 3A state quarterfinal on Monday night at Alliant Energy Power House.
CGD (28-2) advances to Wednesday 3 p.m. semifinal matchup against the winner of Tuesday’s Mount Vernon-Union match. Red Oak finishes 30-5.
“We started out real strong with our serve receive and our passing,” Middleton said. “(Setter) Alaina (Friesleben) did a great job of setting the ball up and did a good job when (Red Oak) started shifting their defense.”
Understandably, the Tigers started shifting their defense to cover Middleton’s power. CGD Coach Katrina TerHark credited her team with adjusting and looking for other hitters.
“I thought our whole team came out and played really well from the start,” she said. “Being here before really helped us.
“Once Morgan got off to that good start, they started cheating their block toward here. We talked to Alaina and told her to continue mixing things up and Kendall (Lienemann), our other outside, had an outstanding night.”
Lienemann finished with 11 kills.
Red Oak did keep things close in both the second and third sets. In fact, the Tigers held a 19-18 lead in set two before the Cowgirls rallied.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“I think our experience helped us in that second game,” TerHark said. “We went five games with Des Moines Christian in our regional final. I think that helped have us ready for this match because every team you meet at state is a good one.”
Friesleben had 39 assists for the winners. Senior Jadyn Jondle was solid in the back row, coming up with 18 digs.
Lexi Johnson led Red Oak with 14 kills. Chloe DeVries had 28 assists while Abby Jones finished with 17 digs.