Prep Volleyball

State volleyball superlatives: The best of Wednesday's 3A, 2A and 1A quarterfinals

Osage players celebrate their Green Devils' class 3A quarterfinal win over the Davenport Assumption Knights  at the 2018 Iowa Girls' High School Volleyball Tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Osage players celebrate their Green Devils' class 3A quarterfinal win over the Davenport Assumption Knights at the 2018 Iowa Girls' High School Volleyball Tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS – With 12 first-round matches, Wednesday was the longest day of the Iowa high school state volleyball tournament.

Maybe even the best.

Before moving on to the semifinals, let’s take a look back at the best of day two with our state volleyball superlatives, featuring Classes 3A, 2A and 1A.

ICYMI:Tuesday’s state volleyball superlatives

Best match: Osage 3, Davenport Assumption 2

Tuesday’s best match was the last of the day, and Wednesday picked up where we left off with a thrilling Class 3A quarterfinal.

This match was so tight that both teams had 89 total points through four sets.

Assumption jumped out to a 2-1 lead, but the Green Devils stormed back to force a fifth set, then prevailed 15-9. Danielle Johnson led four Osage players in double figures with 19 kills.

“We came here to win a state championship and we needed to win two more sets to play on,” Osage middle hitter Sydney Midlang said. “That’s what we did.”

Story, photos: Osage vs. Davenport Assumption

Biggest upset: Mount Vernon 3, MOC-Floyd Valley 1

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If you watched this match without context, you would have had no idea the lower-seeded team won.

That’s how dominant Mount Vernon was most of the way, particularly in a 25-11 second set. MOC-FV hit just .153.

Mount Vernon, ranked ninth in Class 3A, entered the state tournament with 15 losses, but is a battle-tested team. It took the first two sets from the No. 3 Dutch, then won the fourth, 25-18, to advance.

“We have the most losses of anybody here, and we kind of take pride in that,” said Mount Vernon’s Rory Light, who hammered a match-high 21 kills. “Those were good teams we lost to, and all of them have allowed us to get better.”

Story, photos: Mount Vernon vs. MOC-Floyd Valley

Most prolific hitters: Jori Bronner, Unity Christian and Bree Thompson, Janesville

Both Bronner and Thompson racked up 20 kills per set in their teams’ first-round sweeps.

Bronner posted 20 kills to just three errors in Unity’s surprising sweep of fellow perennial power Dike-New Hartford in Class 2A. The senior and three-year starter has more than 900 kills in her outstanding career.

Three-time defending Class 1A champion Janesville was powered by Thompson’s offense in a first-round sweep of No. 11 Gladbrook-Reinbeck. The Lipscomb commit came in leading the state in kills with 4.97 per set. She upped her season total to 567 with Wednesday’s performance.

Most prolific setter: Sydney Steffen, Dyersville Beckman

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No. 2 Dyersville Beckman is actually the top seed in Class 2A after No. 1 Grundy Center was upset in last week’s regional finals.

Steffen helped make sure Wilton couldn’t pull off another shocker, piling up 40 assists in a 25-21, 25-13, 25-17 victory. She’s the 2A leader for the season with 9.88 per set.

Most active defender: Samara Harms, Tripoli

The last match of the day between Class 1A foes Tripoli and Starmont was highly entertaining, with the teams combining for 163 digs in four sets.

Harms led the way for the sixth-ranked Panthers, totaling 27 digs as Tripoli knocked off No. 4 Starmont after dropping the first set.

Best comeback: Western Christian 3, Treynor 2

The Wolfpack, ranked third in Class 2A, dropped the first two sets to No. 8 Treynor, putting their streak of 17 straight semifinal berths in jeopardy.

But Western came all the way back with 25-19, 25-10 and 15-11 wins in the final three sets. Once it got rolling, it looked like all the other Wolfpack teams that have stormed their way through the first round (and often more).

“We got out to the hallway and Coach (Tammi Verbeek) told us to play with no fear of failure,” Western’s Macay Van’t Hul said.

Story, photos: Western Christian vs. Treynor

Stat of the day: Jaden Daffer, Sidney: 3 kills

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In volleyball, roles are often determined by height. Daffer, Sidney’s 5-foot-1 senior, for example, dons the libero uniform for the Cowgirls.

But that doesn’t stop her from taking her swings.

Daffer posted three kills in Sidney’s 3-1 win over Tri-Center in Class 2A, and they weren’t by accident.

“I see the set coming toward me and I think, ‘OK, here we go,’” Daffer said. “I just have to breathe and make sure I don’t hit it out, and don’t hit it into the net.”

Oh, and Daffer also had 14 digs in this one.

Story, photos: Sidney vs. Tri-Center

l Comments: (319) 398-8252; nathan.ford@thegazette.com

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