Prep Volleyball

Mount Vernon volleyball adopts team-wide mask usage for stretch run

Mustangs go 3-1 at Westside Invitational

Mount Vernon's Madi Cranston (2) and Mount Vernon's Jorie Randall (1) watch as the ball goes out of bounds for a point a
Mount Vernon's Madi Cranston (2) and Mount Vernon's Jorie Randall (1) watch as the ball goes out of bounds for a point against Cedar Rapids Xavier during a match earlier this season. (Cliff Jette/Freelance for The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Once an option, masks are now a mandate for the Mount Vernon Mustangs.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Coach Maggie Willems said.

As the postseason draws near, a COVID-19 outbreak is the last thing the Mustangs — or anybody, for that matter — can afford.

The masks are more than prevention. They’re an insurance policy.

A recent ruling by Gov. Kim Reynolds in essence means that mask-wearers need not quarantine if they are in proximity with a COVID-positive case.

So with the masks, if a player tests positive, the rest of the team can play on.

“We have a team covenant,” Willems said. “The players collectively agreed to wear them.”

Madi Cranston had worn a mask long before the covenant.

“I try to keep it on as much as I can,” she said. “The only difficult thing for me is that it muffles your voice a little bit, so it’s hard to hear everybody sometimes.”

Class 3A third-ranked Mount Vernon won three of four matches at the Westside Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday at Jefferson High School.

The Mustangs (22-6) successfully navigated their way through morning pool play with straight-set victories over Dubuque Hempstead and Linn-Mar and a three-set win over West Delaware.

Class 2A No. 3 Dike-New Hartford (25-3) stopped the Mustangs in a cross-pool match, basically a morning championship battle, 21-16, 21-19.

And yet ...

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“I’m happy with our execution and focus today,” Willems said. “This was a brutal day. There weren’t any breaks, and we played four very good teams.”

In an effort to socially distance somewhat, the Westside — usually a 16-team event that finishes with bracket play — was divided into three pools, two in the morning, one in the afternoon.

Marion (19-9), ranked seventh in 4A, won two of three pool matches, then outlasted Dubuque Hempstead in its final match of the morning, 21-16, 12-21, 15-13.

“I’ll take that,” Marion Coach Roxanne Paulsen said. “We needed to come through in a (deciding set), and we were able to do that against Hempstead.”

They also did it against West Liberty in pool action, rallying after dropping the first set, 21-9.

Grundy Center and Tripoli were the top teams of the afternoon, compiling 3-1 records in Pool C.

WESTSIDE VOLLEYBALL INVITATIONAL

At C.R. Jefferson

Pool A

Teams — 1. Dike-New Hartford 3-0, 2. Marion 2-1, 3. West Liberty 1-2, 4. C.R. Kennedy 0-3.

Dike-New Hartford def. Marion, 21-16, 21-19

West Liberty def. C.R. Kennedy, 22-20, 21-7

Dike-New Hartford def. West Liberty, 21-15, 21-11

Marion def. C.R. Kennedy, 21-15, 21-10

Dike-New Hartford def. C.R. Kennedy, 21-15, 21-8

Marion def. West Liberty, 9-21, 22-20, 15-7

Pool B

Teams — 1. Mount Vernon 3-0, 2. Dubuque Hempstead 2-1, 3. West Delaware 1-2, 4. Linn-Mar 0-3.

Mount Vernon def. Dubuque Hempstead, 21-15, 21-19

West Delaware def. Linn-Mar, 20-22, 21-15, 16-14

Dubuque Hempstead def. Linn-Mar, 21-19, 21-12

Mount Vernon def. West Delaware, 21-14, 21-23, 15-8

Dubuque Hempstead def. West Delaware, 16-21, 21-7, 15-9

Mount Vernon def. Linn-Mar, 21-12, 21-12

A/B Placement Matches

Dike-New Hartford def. Mount Vernon, 21-16, 21-19

Marion def. Dubuque Hempstead, 21-16, 12-21, 15-13

West Delaware def. West Liberty, 21-17, 21-18

C.R. Kennedy def. Linn-Mar, 21-11, 21-16

Pool C

Teams — 1. Grundy Center 3-1, 2. Tripoli 3-1, 3. C.R. Jefferson 2-2, 4. Iowa City West 2-2, 5. C.R. Washington 0-4.

Tripoli def. C.R. Jefferson, 11-21, 21-19, 19-17

Iowa City West def. Grundy Center, 21-15, 18-21, 15-10

Grundy Center def. C.R. Jefferson, 21-19, 21-9

Iowa City West def. C.R. Washington, 21-18, 21-15

Grundy Center def. C.R. Washington, 21-7, 21-18

Tripoli def. Iowa City West, 22-20, 21-18

C.R. Jefferson def. C.R. Washington, 21-10, 21-11

Grundy Center def. Tripoli, 24-22, 16-21, 15-13

C.R. Jefferson def. Iowa City West, 21-17, 21-11

Tripoli def. C.R. Washington, 19-21, 22-20, 15-11

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

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