NORTH LIBERTY — No. 5 Iowa City Liberty defeated Iowa City West, 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-20) in a Class 5A regional volleyball semifinal Thursday night, leaving the Lightning one victory away from returning to the state tournament a year removed from making their first appearance in school history.
One strength the young program has is its diversity.
“We have different friend groups, but on the volleyball court I think we blend well together,” said Addie Schmierer, Liberty’s senior libero.
The Drake signee played as a freshman and last year became co-leader of the squad with classmate Haley Hested.
“It’s been really helpful having established leaders,” Schmierer said. “The first two years we were just playing to play.”
At 5-foot-2, Schmierer isn’t deterred by her lack of size and finds other ways to contribute to the team’s success.
“Obviously height is an advantage in volleyball,” Schmierer said. “So I have to make it up with my scrappiness and just being a vocal leader.”
Iowa City West was led statistically by Emma Stammeyer’s 15 assists, Melae Lacey’s eight blocks and Mayowa Dokun’s four blocks, as the Trojans ended their 2020 campaign with a 13-15 record.
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Iowa City Liberty improves to 21-2 and faces No. 14 Bettendorf on Tuesday for a regional championship banner, something Schmierer and company hope will be the first of two banners they hang this season.
“Last year, we lost in the first round, but this year we want to win the state title,” Schmierer said. “While that is always our goal, this year we can see it.”
While this is the final run for a senior class that began when the program started four years ago, Schmierer, Hested and the rest of the Lightning want to continue to build Liberty’s legacy for a future without them.
“We want to win it all and have people, when we come to the court, say that’s a state championship team,” Schmierer said.