Prep Volleyball

A.J. Schubert's 20 kills lift Assumption past Unity Christian in state volleyball quarterfinals

After 5-set first-round losses in 2018 and 2019, the Knights move on

CEDAR RAPIDS — No five-setter this time. And no heartbreak.

Sophomore lefty A.J. Schubert swatted 20 kills — eight in the fourth set, and fourth-ranked Davenport Assumption took care of business in four sets (25-20, 17-25, 25-18, 25-22) over No. 5 Unity Christian in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday morning at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.

“Definitely glad it didn’t go five,” Maggie Johnson said. “Assumption has always kind of struggled in the first round here.”

Last year, the Knights came to state as the top-ranked team and dropped a five-setter to Union Community. The year before, they went the distance with Osage and came up short at the end.

Assumption (23-2) has climbed that first-round barrier and will face No. 1 Osage (32-2) in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Osage swept No. 10 Humboldt in its first-rounder Monday night.

“This is a huge, huge win for us,” Schubert said. “We’re excited to see what the next match brings.”

Schubert brought plenty Tuesday. The 6-foot-1 right-side attacker averaged 4.4 kills per set this season, and bettered that rate. She ended the first set with a flurry as Assumption rallied from a 16-14 deficit. Her kill put the Knights in front for good at 18-17, then she added a block in the middle of a decisive six-point run.

Schubert kills accounted for Assumption’s final two points of the set,

Unity (23-6) squared the match, taking control with a seven-point surge for an 11-5 lead in Game 2. But Assumption controlled the third set and pulled away from a 19-19 deadlock in the fourth. Schubert’s 20th kill was match point.

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“We were hoping to win in three, but we knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk,” said Schubert, who also led the Knights with 28 digs. “Unity was going to put up a fight, and I’m glad they did.”

Emma Schubert added 13 kills, Johnson 10. Annabelle Costello registered 45 assists.

Gracie Schoonhoven paced Unity with 13 kills.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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