IOWA CITY — Resilience, resolve and rallies.
Iowa City West had plenty of each to reverse the result in its rematch with Iowa City High.
The Trojans dropped the first set and eclipsed considerable deficits in the next three to defeat the Little Hawks, 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 26-24, 27-25) in a Class 5A Region 7 volleyball quarterfinal Tuesday night at City High.
“These girls have overcome every adversity this year,” West coach Keeley Arnold said. “I have all the faith in the world they will just continue to fight. They are a great group of kids.”
West toppled eighth-ranked Dubuque Hempstead last Thursday and overturned a sweep at the hands of City High on Oct. 1.
“We came back and won against Hempstead and then won this game,” West senior McKenna Proud said. “We proved that we’re being as tough as we say we are.”
West’s rally in the opener fell just short when City High closed with the final three points, including consecutive aces from Maya Morales to end it.
The Little Hawks soared to a 12-6 lead when a Proud kill followed by her ace sparked a four-point streak to get West back in the game. The Trojans won seven straight points, including a Mayowa Dokun block and kills from Proud and Rylie Baldes that helped even the match at one set apiece.
“They won that first game,” Proud said. “I’m really happy that we won.”
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West trailed 10-2 before battling back to win the third set. It produced a couple three-point streaks and won eight of 11 to move within 22-21. The Trojans rallied for five straight to win it, including a Katherine Kouba ace and Baldes kill.
The Trojans (13-14) feed off one another.
“They are mentally tough,” Arnold said. “They have each other’s backs at all times. One person gets it, everybody goes and that is the beauty of this team.”
Teams traded points in the fourth. City High seemed in control to force a fifth, leading 21-18 and 24-22. West pulled off another comeback. Things went their way a bit at the end when a fluky return caught City High off guard and a wide return tied it, 24-24.
A Baldes kill tied the game again at 25. Proud’s ensuing serve hit the top of the net and slowly rolled over and dropped straight down to set up match point.
“I thought Keeley was going to kill and make me run 1,000 sprints,” Proud said with a laugh. “I’m so happy that it went over. I was really worried.”
City High’s attempt at a set drifted over the net and Baldes smashed home the game-winner to start the celebration and Thursday’s semifinal match with Iowa City Liberty (20-2).
“They were pulled off the court for two weeks and they came back raring to go,” Arnold said about an interruption in all Iowa City Community School District athletics. “They made that change to get where we are.”
Ruby McDonough tallied 11 kills and Alia Vanderhoef added 10 for City High. Morales had 31 digs and Makayla Ribble contributed 44 assists for the Little Hawks, who end the season at 7-11.
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