CEDAR RAPIDS — Melissa Freesmeier noticed some slumped shoulders and concerned faces.
“We were dragging a little bit,” she acknowledged.
The necessary boost didn’t come from a big kill or a clutch ace. It came from a rotation mistake, and a subtraction of points on the other side of the scoreboard.
Second-ranked Le Mars Gehlen lost a pair of points midway through a tight third set, then No. 3 Fort Madison Holy Trinity pounced and won going away, 25-15, 26-28, 25-20, 25-16, in a Class 1A semifinal at the state volleyball tournament Thursday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“That really helped us,” Holy Trinity setter Kassi Randolph said. “We had a lot more energy after that.”
Here’s what happened:
After a sideout, Gehlen scored a pair of points for what appeared to be a 14-11 lead. But it was discovered that the Jays used the wrong server and the points were wiped off. The rejuvenated Crusaders went on a run, scoring nine of the next 10 points, and suddenly enjoyed a 20-13 advantage.
Holy Trinity (37-3) won that set, then cruised through the fourth.
The Crusaders will face No. 1 Janesville (45-5) for the 1A championship at 7 p.m. Janesville has been a nemesis for Holy Trinity — and the rest of the small-school programs — lately, winning the last three 1A titles.
Emily Box paced the Crusaders with 22 kills, and Eryn Anderson added 13.
Gehlen Coach Mike Meyer downplayed the wrong-server error after the Jays bowed out at 28-5.
“It’s not something you want to see happen, but we were still ahead at that point,” he said. “The bottom line is, we struggled playing at an intensity level required in a match like this. They were more athletic and quicker than we were.”
Freesmeier said, “We were down three, then we were down one. It was a little boost for the kids.”
Katie Peters had 21 kills for the Jays.
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