CEDAR RAPIDS — Andrew Rambo took the call late Friday night.
The message, from Will and Amy Norton, was this: Rambo was in charge for 14 days, or the duration of the postseason, whichever came first.
“I guess I would say I was a little nervous,” Rambo said. “But this group is easy to coach. I had a lot of the seniors in JV last year, and Will and Amy do such a phenomenal job. They had the girls really prepared.”
Cedar Rapids Jefferson worked out the kinks after the first set, then zoomed past Cedar Rapids Washington, 24-26, 25-19, 25-9, 25-16, in a Class 5A volleyball regional quarterfinal Tuesday night at Jefferson High School.
“That first set, we were playing for ourselves,” setter Allie Barlow said. “We talked about what we needed to fix, then things started to go a lot better.”
Jefferson (9-17) will face eighth-ranked Dubuque Hempstead in Thursday’s regional semifinal. First serve is 7 p.m. at Dubuque. Rambo will lead the team again as interim head coach while the Nortons continue their coronavirus quarantine.
“We took a set (from Hempstead) last time we played, so we definitely have a chance if we play like we can play,” Barlow said.
Washington (2-30) broke a 24-all first-set tie on kills by Hannah Stuelke and Deja Redmond, but the rest of the match belonged to Jefferson.
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With Game 2 tied 8-8, the J-Hawks broke away with runs of six and five points for a 19-12 advantage. Then they opened the third set with the first 11 points (Barlow served 10 of them), then tacked on a nine-point blitz to blow it open late.
It was 10-9 in the fourth before Jefferson pieced together eight straight points, highlighted by a pair of kills by Kelsey Knudsen, and they were home free.
Jefferson’s Ashlynn Dolan led all attackers with 15 kills, and Knudsen added 14. Barlow, a sophomore, fed the senior-dominated attack squad with 39 assists.
“They like me and I like them,” Barlow said. “We have a strong team bond.”
Stuelke, a junior and a University of Iowa basketball commit, posted 10 kills for Washington.
CEDAR RAPIDS JEFFERSON 3, CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 1 (24-26, 25-19, 25-9, 25-16)
Class 5A Regional Quarterfinal, at C.R. Jefferson
Serving: Washington 63-71 (.887), Jefferson 89-99 (.899)
Aces: Washington 4 (four with 1), Jefferson 11 (Allie Barlow, Kaleigh Fowlkes, Emma Slings 3)
Kills: Washington 30 (Hannah Stuelke 10), Jefferson 48 (Ashlynn Dolan 15)
Assists: Washington 29 (Lydia Jackson 12), Jefferson 44 (Allie Barlow 39)
Blocks: Washington 3 (Stuelke 2), Jefferson 5 (Rhiana Briney, Naomi Frazier 2)
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