Prep Volleyball

Iowa high school volleyball preseason rankings: Mount Vernon starts No. 1 in 3A

Other preseason No. 1 teams are Cedar Falls, Dubuque Wahlert, Western Christian and Tripoli

Mount Vernon's Madi Cranston (2) high-fives head coach Maggie Willems during a Class 3A quarterfinal against MOC-Floyd Valley at the 2018 state volleyball tournament. The Mustangs open the new season at No. 1 in 3A. (The Gazette)
Mount Vernon's Madi Cranston (2) high-fives head coach Maggie Willems during a Class 3A quarterfinal against MOC-Floyd Valley at the 2018 state volleyball tournament. The Mustangs open the new season at No. 1 in 3A. (The Gazette)

They were going to be good anyway. Very good. Now, with the addition of Lauren Schrock, the Mount Vernon Mustangs are on top of the preseason volleyball rankings in Class 3A.

“We are always good in defense and ball control,” Mount Vernon Coach Maggie Willems said in learning that the Mustangs are ranked No. 1. “What’s different now is that our offensive capabilities are better.”

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union unveiled its preseason volleyball list Monday afternoon. Two defending state champions — Dubuque Wahlert (4A) and Western Christian (2A) — are on top of their respective classes, along with Cedar Falls (5A), Mount Vernon (3A) and Tripoli (1A).

Mount Vernon has gone to state in six of Willems’ first eight seasons as head coach, including a runner-up finish in 2014. This is the first time in Willems’ tenure that the Mustangs have opened at No. 1.

“Wherever we are, people will look forward to playing us,” Willems said.

The Mustangs were 28-16 last season and return five starters, all juniors. Schrock, an outside hitter who transferred from Solon, also is a junior and has committed to play at the University of Iowa.

“She’s fitting in great,” Willems said. “She’s incredibly coachable and already had a good skill set.”

Defending champion Carroll Kuemper is second in 3A, followed by Tipton, Dike-New Hartford and West Liberty. Tipton (39-4) was the runner-up last year, and is led by3A player of the year Sommer Daniel.

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Cedar Falls brings back four starters from a team that went 46-1 last season and reached the 5A finals, led by hitters Akacia Brown and Alayna Yates and setter Emerson Green. The next five teams (West Des Moines Dowling, Ankeny, West Des Moines Valley, Waukee and defending-champion Ankeny Centennial) hail from the Central Iowa Metro League.

Iowa City Liberty is the highest area 5A team, at No. 9.

Wahlert (26-12) beat Cedar Rapids Xavier (29-9) in the 4A state final last year, and the Golden Eagles and the Saints start the fall ranked 1-2. The three-time defending champion, Wahlert brings back star hitter Aliyah Carter, a Kansas State commit, while Xavier is led by the setter-hitter duo of Jazmine Yamilkoski and Eve Magill.

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Led by all-state setter Macey Kleitsch, West Delaware (33-11) is No. 3, followed by Dallas Center-Grimes and Sergeant Bluff-Luton.

Western Christian (42-5) begins pursuit of its 37th state-tournament appearance, and the Wolfpack are favored to win an 18th state title. Four starters are back for Tammi Veerbeek, who owns a coaching mark of 873-96 at her alma mater.

Osage is second in 2A, then it’s Dyersville Beckman, Hudson and Van Buren. Beckman (44-4) was hit hard by graduation, but the move-in of all-stater Jada Wills from Dubuque Hempstead will soften the blow.

Tripoli (24-16) is a slight favorite over Sidney — which moves down from 2A — in the small-school class. The Panthers have made it to the U.S. Cellular Center 19 times in the past 21 seasons, and have four starters back, led by 6-foot-1 hitter Zoe Semelroth.

Four-time defending champ Janesville is No. 3 in 1A, followed by North Tama and Le Mars Gehlen.

CLASS 5A

1. Cedar Falls (46-1)

2. West Des Moines Dowling (29-13)

3. Ankeny (31-13)

4. West Des Moines Valley (41-4)

5. Waukee (29-15)

6. Ankeny Centennial (41-3)

7. Pleasant Valley (26-8)

8. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (31-10)

9. Iowa City Liberty (19-15)

10. Indianola (29-15)

11. Des Moines Roosevelt (20-20)

12. Iowa City High (24-13)

13. Ottumwa (19-17)

14. Johnston (18-17)

15. Sioux City East (20-21)

CLASS 4A

1. Dubuque Wahlert (26-12)

2. Cedar Rapids Xavier (29-9)

3. West Delaware (33-11)

4. Dallas Center-Grimes (36-5)

5. Sergeant Bluff-Luton (35-7)

6. Lewis Central (21-14)

7. Waverly-Shell Rock (40-9)

8. Clear Creek Amana (26-15)

9. North Scott (22-12)

10. Norwalk (20-21)

11. Gilbert (21-28)

12. Glenwood (17-14)

13. Fairfield (31-6)

14. Winterset (20-8)

15. Knoxville (17-15)

CLASS 3A

1. Mount Vernon (28-16)

2. Carroll Kuemper (45-1)

3. Tipton (39-4)

4. Dike-New Hartford (35-13)

5. West Liberty (26-11)

6. Union Community (29-15)

7. Davenport Assumption (31-6)

8. MOC-Floyd Valley (28-8)

9. New Hampton (36-6)

10. Humboldt (30-5)

11. Spirit Lake (33-8)

12. Red Oak (25-13)

13. Cherokee (29-17)

14. Sioux City Heelan (24-13)

15. Sioux Center (22-16)

CLASS 2A

1. Western Christian (42-5)

2. Osage (30-7)

3. Dyersville Beckman (44-4)

4. Hudson (31-7)

5. Van Buren (30-4)

6. Clarion CGD (27-9)

7. Wilton (36-5)

8. South Central Calhoun (30-12)

9. Central Lyon (23-9)

10. Mediapolis (23-17)

11. Underwood (23-13)

12. Grundy Center (39-4)

13. West Monona (22-11)

14. Woodward-Granger (23-11)

15. Tri-Center (31-8)

CLASS 1A

1. Tripoli (24-16)

2. Sidney (39-3)

3. Janesville (46-5)

4. North Tama (26-8)

5. Le Mars Gehlen (28-5)

6. Fort Madison Holy Trinity (37-4)

7. Montezuma (30-7)

8. East Mills (28-6)

9. Council Bluffs St. Albert (23-6)

10. Wapsie Valley (21-15)

11. Fremont-Mills (22-14)

12. East Buchanan (22-14)

13. Conrad BCLUW (26-12)

14. Lamoni (21-10)

15. Elkader Central (22-8)

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

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