CEDAR RAPIDS — Delaney Rice is more of a ponytail girl. She’s not a fan of braids.
“I don’t like this fancy stuff,” she said. “My scalp is hurting.”
But if everybody on the team is doing it, you join in.
If Rice’s scalp was barking Tuesday night, her right arm was fresh and healthy. It delivered 15 kills as eighth-ranked Marion upended No. 3 North Scott, 25-21, 25-23, 25-15, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We really worked hard to hit around their big block,” said Rice, a soon-to-be signee of Saint Louis University. “I got stuffed a couple of times, but I learned from my mistakes.”
The Indians (31-10) advance to face No. 10 Western Dubuque (23-13) in a semifinal at noon Thursday. Western Dubuque knocked off No. 2 Cedar Rapids Xavier in five sets Tuesday, and tripped three-time defending-champion Dubuque Wahlert in the regional semifinals.
“It should be a heck of a match,” Marion Coach Roxanne Paulsen said. “If they’re not afraid of Wahlert or Xavier, who are they going to be afraid of? Nobody.”
The pivotal moment came at the end of the second set. Marion had made three consecutive hitting errors, allowing North Scott (28-6) to take a 23-22 advantage.
But freshman Avery Van Hook had a kill to tie it, then the Indians closed the set with back-to-back kills by Kayba Laube.
A UNI basketball recruit, Laube has been victimized by North Scott twice in the state basketball finals. So even if the players in opposing uniforms were different from those on the basketball team, this still mattered.
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“It sure does,” she said. “I didn’t recognize these girls, but it still feels good.”
Laube added 11 kills, and Ella Van Weelden accumulated nine.
“I saw the block coming at me more, so we started spreading it out,” Rice said. “Ella had kill after kill. It’s like we took shifts.”
Down 3-0 in the finale, Marion took control with an 11-2 run and led by four points or more the rest of the way.
Van Hook and Elise Mehaffy combined for 44 assists, and Trinity Zika collected 26 digs.
“We served really well,” Paulsen said. “We did a good job of keeping them out of system. It’s great to have Delaney, and we have a lot of other girls that can do valuable things for us.”
Emma Powell led North Scott with 10 kills.
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