The whole gang is back now, and healthy.
And as a result?
“We’re on a roll right now,” Starmont volleyball coach Robert Goedken said.
Back from a harrowing automobile accident that cost her the first part of the season, setter Regan Janssen has helped lead fourth-ranked Starmont to a late-season surge. Winners of 19 of their last 20 matches, the Stars (27-6) host Springville (16-20) in the second half of a Class 1A regional-semifinal doubleheader Thursday at Arlington.
No. 9 Edgewood-Colesburg (24-10) faces Elkader Central (22-7) in the opening match, at 5:30, with the Springville-Starmont contest to follow.
One of seven seniors who has led the Stars to back-to-back state tournaments, Janssen was injured in mid-August. Goedken said she suffered multiple fractures in her back.
“If you saw her car ... (the collision) tore the wheels off and it rolled three times ... you’d have thought they’d have taken her out of there in a body bag,” Goedken said. “We think of this as our miracle season.”
Janssen, came back, and ranks second in the state (all classes) with 10.39 assists per set. She’s “about 95 percent now,” Goedken said. “We did all right in our conference without her, and though we held our own in the early tournaments, we couldn’t beat the top teams.”
Starmont is shooting for its third win over Springville in the past three weeks. Meanwhile, Ed-Co hopes to turn the tables on a Central squad that knocked it out of regionals last year.
“We’re looking for a little redemption,” Ed-Co Coach Eileen Bergan said. “Some of our girls play club ball with their girls, so we know their tendencies.”
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Ed-Co is a veteran squad, with some promising freshmen sprinkled in. Senior Kelsi Askeland averaged 3.13 kills per set. Central counters with senior Lizzie Gifford (3.37 kills per set).
The top match involving an area team likely will be at Traer, where No. 5 North Tama (26-7) hosts No. 11 Gladbrook-Reinbeck (26-9). No. 7 Montezuma (28-6) hosts Lynnville-Sully (16-12).
In Class 2A, No. 2 Dyersville Beckman (41-3) hosts neighborhood rival Cascade (20-14).
Thursday’s survivors advance to regional finals Tuesday, with winners advancing to the state tournament.
Thursday's Class 2A regional semifinals
(All matches 7 p.m.)
Lake Mills (31-8) vs. Dike-New Hartford (33-12), at Charles City
Hudson (30-6) vs. MFL MarMac (16-9), at Sumner
Wapsie Valley (21-14) at Grundy Center (39-3)
West Branch (24-14) at Wilton (34-4)
Cascade (20-14) at Dyersville Beckman (41-3)
Durant (25-8) vs. Van Buren (30-3), at Mediapolis
Thursday's Class 1A regional semifinals
(7 p.m. unless noted)
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (26-9) at North Tama (26-7)
Ar-We-Va (16-10) vs. Anita CAM (26-9, at Audubon
West Central (13-16) at Tripoli (21-15)
Edgewood-Colesburg (24-10) vs. Elkader Central (22-7), at Arlington, 5:30 p.m.
Springville (16-20) at Starmont (27-6), 7:30 p.m.
Don Bosco (21-15) vs. HLV (18-10), at Dunkerton
Lynnville-Sully (16-12) at Montezuma (28-6)
Winfield-Mount Union (15-14) at New London (27-9)
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