NORTH LIBERTY — Liberty High School is in its third year of existence, and LeeAnn Potter has been with the volleyball program since Day 1.
“I didn’t expect this at all,” she said. “Honestly, it’s like a dream. I can’t believe it.”
Liberty has made a surprisingly swift climb. Ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, the Lightning improved to 21-1 with a sweep of Clear Creek Amana, 25-16, 25-17, 25-23, in a non-conference match Thursday night at Liberty High School.
“Ever since the beginning, we just had a mindset of, ‘Let’s work hard every day and play our game,” said Potter, a senior.
The Lightning started the season with a tone-setting win at Cedar Rapids Xavier. They started 13-0, stumbled at Dubuque Wahlert, and have followed with eight straight victories.
“I joked after the Wahlert loss, ‘You really didn’t think you were going to go undefeated, did you?’” Coach Randy Dolson said. “Lo and behold, that’s still our only blemish right now.”
The Lightning rallied from a 22-18 deficit in the third set, scoring six straight points behind freshman Cassidy Hartmann, who contributed two kills and an ace in that surge.
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Hartmann led the Lightning with 11 kills. Add rookies Shelby Kimm and Kennedy Daugherty, and the freshmen had 16 of Liberty’s 36 kills.
“The freshmen have been huge,” Potter said. “We had a good team anyway, and they have made us even better than before.”
Liberty broke free from the Clippers (13-8) with a five-point run for an 11-7 lead in the opener, then with the second set tied, 12-12, scored nine of the next 10 points.
CCA rallied from a seven-point deficit in Game 3 behind the swing of Hailey Pollock, who had six of her team-high 11 kills in the finale.
But Hartmann led the Lightning back.
“I feel a lot better about us than I did a couple of weeks ago,” CCA Coach Jackie Clubb said. “We have some good hitters, we just need to be able to pass to them. We need to improve our serve-receive defense.”
Sydney Woods added seven kills for Liberty. Potter had six kills and four aces.
IOWA CITY LIBERTY 3, CLEAR CREEK AMANA 0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-23)
At North Liberty
Serving — CCA 49-56 (.875), Liberty 66-75 (.880).
Aces — CCA 4 (Carsyn Gallagher 2), Liberty 13 (LeeAnn Potter 4).
Kills — CCA 29 (Hailey Pollock 11), Liberty 36 (Cassidy Hartmann 11).
Assists — CCA 28 (Cheyaenne Bunch 24), Liberty 34 (Rylee Fay 19).
Blocks — CCA 4 (Morgan Etscheidt 2), Liberty 4 (Lauren Roman 3).
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