Prep Volleyball

Westside Invitational volleyball: Dowling earns first crown, Marion is top area team

Marion is the last area team standing, reaching the semifinals

Marion's Kayba Laube (9) celebrates with teammates Elise Mehaffy (7) and Delaney Rice after the Indians scored a point during the semifinals of the Westside Invitational volleyball tournament at Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Saturday. (David Harmantas/Freelance)
Marion's Kayba Laube (9) celebrates with teammates Elise Mehaffy (7) and Delaney Rice after the Indians scored a point during the semifinals of the Westside Invitational volleyball tournament at Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Saturday. (David Harmantas/Freelance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Marion Indians hit the road Saturday in an effort to enhance — or at least protect — home-court advantage.

Get all that? If not, you will.

Class 4A eighth-ranked Marion was the last area team standing at the Westside Invitational volleyball tournament at Jefferson High School, advancing to the semifinals.

“We’ll take it,” Coach Roxanne Paulsen said after the Indians (24-8) were eliminated by 5A No. 9 Ankeny Centennial in a tough three-setter, 25-23, 22-25, 15-11. “This tournament is always super competitive.”

Marion certainly enhanced its postseason resume Saturday, winning all three of its pool matches (including a sweep over eventual tournament champion West Des Moines Dowling, the seventh-rated team in 5A).

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released postseason pairings earlier this week. Marion is on one side of its regional bracket; No. 9 Knoxville and No. 10 Oskaloosa loom on the other side of the draw.

As long as the Indians remain ranked ahead of those teams, they will host a potential regional-final match that would send the winner to state.

“We have to keep doing well to keep the higher seed,” senior Delaney Rice said. “That’s what we were after today.”

They’ll be tested again this week at the Wamac Conference tournament.

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Dowling (25-10) recovered from that straight-set pool loss to the Indians, topping Mount Vernon and Dike-New Hartford in the first two rounds of bracket play before handling Centennial (15-13) — the defending 5A state champion — 25-22, 25-17 in the finals. It was the Maroons’ first Westside title.

“We had some communication errors (against Marion),” Dowling hitter Anna Godfredsen said. “We hadn’t seen them before, and our intensity was down. But we came back after that and really focused on that. We needed to be loud on our bench and mix up our shots.”

Marion swept its three pool matches, then outlasted 2A No. 6 Grundy Center in the quarterfinals, 25-19, 22-25, 15-13. The Indians led Centennial 10-9 in the decisive set in the semis before all-stater Devyn Robinson collected three blocks and a kill in the Jaguars’ decisive run.

“We were trying to hit high hand to get over the block, but sometimes we had to hit down, and they had a strong block,” Rice said.

Like Marion, Mount Vernon (25-10) and West Delaware (34-4) won their respective pools. The Mustangs and the Hawks were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

So was Cedar Rapids Jefferson (10-14), which led Centennial 14-12 in the third set of its match. But the Jaguars scored the last four points and survived.

Westside Invitational volleyball

At C.R. Jefferson

Pool A

Teams — 1. Marion 3-0, West Des Moines Dowling 2-1, 3. Dubuque Hempstead 1-2, 4. C.R. Washington 0-3.

Marion def. Dubuque Hempstead, 21-18, 21-14

West Des Moines Dowling def. C.R. Washington, 21-14, 21-7

Marion def. C.R. Washington, 21-9, 21-9

West Des Moines Dowling def. Dubuque Hempstead, 21-13, 21-14

Dubuque Hempstead def. C.R. Washington, 21-14, 21-12

Marion def. West Des Moines Dowling, 21-17, 21-12

Pool B

Teams — 1. Mount Vernon 3-0, 2. Grundy Center 2-1, 3. Linn-Mar 1-2, 4. Iowa City West 0-3.

Mount Vernon def. Linn-Mar, 21-16, 21-19

Grundy Center def. Iowa City West, 21-6, 21-10

Linn-Mar def. Iowa City West, 21-8, 21-8

Mount Vernon def. Grundy Center, 16-21, 22-20, 20-18

Mount Vernon def. Iowa City West, 21-19, 21-15

Grundy Center def. Linn-Mar, 22-20, 21-15

Pool C

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Teams — 1. West Delaware 3-0, 2. C.R. Jefferson 2-1, 3. Des Moines Roosevelt 1-2, 4. Tripoli 0-3.

C.R. Jefferson def. Tripoli, 21-19, 21-13

West Delaware def. Des Moines Roosevelt, 19-21, 21-6, 15-7

Des Moines Roosevelt def. Tripoli, 21-16, 22-20

West Delaware def. C.R. Jefferson, 20-22, 21-12, 15-13

C.R. Jefferson def. Des Moines Roosevelt, 21-13, 21-16

West Delaware def. Tripoli, 21-6, 21-15

Pool D

Teams — 1. Ankeny Centennial 3-0, 2. Dike-New Hartford 2-1, 3. West Liberty 1-2, 4. C.R. Kennedy 0-3.

Ankeny Centennial def. Dike-New Hartford, 21-19, 16-21, 15-9

West Liberty def. C.R. Kennedy, 21-18, 21-14

Ankeny Centennial def. C.R. Kennedy, 9-21, 21-14, 15-6

Dike-New Hartford def. West Liberty, 21-19, 21-11

Dike-New Hartford def. C.R. Kennedy, 23-21, 21-15

Ankeny Centennial def. West Liberty, 21-12, 21-15

Consolation Quarterfinals

Dubuque Hempstead def. Iowa City West, 25-13, 25-22

West Liberty def. Tripoli, 25-19, 25-23

C.R. Kennedy def. Des Moines Roosevelt, 25-19, 25-13

Linn-Mar def. C.R. Washington, 25-10, 25-9

Consolation Semifinals

C.R. Kennedy def. Linn-Mar, 27-25, 25-17

Dubuque Hempstead def. West Liberty. 25-22, 25-22

Consolation Final

Dubuque Hempstead def. C.R. Kennedy, 25-21, 25-19

Quarterfinals

Marion def. Grundy Center, 25-19, 22-25, 15-13

Ankeny Centennial def. C.R. Jefferson, 25-16, 24-26, 16-14

Dike-New Hartford def. West Delaware, 26-24, 25-20

West Des Moines Dowling def. Mount Vernon, 25-18, 26-24

Semifinals

Ankeny Centennial def. Marion, 25-23, 22-25, 15-11

West Des Moines Dowling def. Dike-New Hartford, 25-21, 24-26, 15-10

Championship

West Des Moines Dowling def. Ankeny Centennial, 25-22, 25-17

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

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