Prep Volleyball

Mount Vernon volleyball is on a high entering Class 3A regionals

West Liberty, Tipton also among state hopefuls; Prairie faces Jefferson in a 5A first-rounder

Mount Vernon volleyball coach Maggie Willems talks to her team during a timeout during a match Oct. 14. The Mustangs open Class 3A regional action Wednesday at home against Oelwein. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Mount Vernon volleyball coach Maggie Willems talks to her team during a timeout during a match Oct. 14. The Mustangs open Class 3A regional action Wednesday at home against Oelwein. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

They’re up, and they’re down. They’re hot, and they’re cold.

Welcome to the world of Class 3A volleyball.

“You look around, and week to week, everybody’s up and down,” Mount Vernon Coach Maggie Willems said. “You think, ‘Wow, this team is playing really well,’ then they stub their toe the next week.”

Three teams (Mount Vernon, Tipton and Union Community) have spent time at the top of the 3A rankings, and West Liberty has been as high as No. 2. All have had their ebbs and flows. And as the postseason begins Wednesday, all of them are dangerous, none of them are unbeatable.

West Liberty (28-7) is the top area 3A team in the final rankings, at No. 5. The Comets open at home against Mid-Prairie (6-21) in a regional quarterfinal. No. 7 Mount Vernon (30-10) hosts Oelwein (0-36), and No. 8 Tipton (30-6) entertains South Tama (10-29).

All are in separate regions.

“I think the (Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union) did a thoughtful job in sorting things out,” Willems said. “Class 3A is wide open, and there is a lot of potential for some upsets.”

After finishing fourth in the Wamac Conference East Division regular-season race, Mount Vernon rose up and won the conference tournament.

“We are playing really well right now,” Willems said. “Now we want to maintain and shape up on our minutia.”

West Liberty won the River Valley Conference tournament.

While the 3A tournament begins in full Wednesday, 4A and 5A open with a handful of matches. Included is a 5A encounter at Cedar Rapids Jefferson between the J-Hawks (12-17) and Cedar Rapids Prairie (17-21).

Surprisingly enough, Jefferson and Prairie have not played this season.

Prairie advanced to the semifinals of the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament Saturday.

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“We really picked up our defense, we picked up our tenacity,” Prairie Coach Lynnette Stecklein said. “We stayed in rallies and were able to give ourselves a chance to win the point.

“Our focus right now is one point, one set at a time. We wanted to be at our best at the end of the season, and I think we are.”

Wednesday's Class 5A regional quarterfinals

All matches 7 p.m.

Region 4

Des Moines East (5-23) at Des Moines Roosevelt (24-13)

Region 5

Des Moines North (1-23) at Urbandale (19-16)

Region 6

Cedar Rapids Prairie (17-21) at Cedar Rapids Jefferson (12-17)

Region 7

Dubuque Senior (12-26) at Linn-Mar (17-17)

Wednesday's Class 4A regional quarterfinals

All matches 7 p.m.

Region 4

Newton (10-18) at Grinnell (13-21)

Des Moines Hoover (3-27) at Bondurant-Farrar (17-17)

Region 5

Washington (11-22) at Pella (17-18)

Carlisle (21-14) at Oskaloosa (18-11)

Region 6

Waterloo East (10-20) at Decorah (14-18)

Charles City (16-25) at Mason City (10-21)

Region 7

DeWitt Central (5-24) at Western Dubuque (18-13)

Clinton (11-22) at Maquoketa (25-14)

Wednesday's Class 3A regional quarterfinals

All matches 7 p.m.

Region 4

Hampton-Dumont/CAL (9-21) at Dike-New Hartford (27-14)

Garner GHV (11-14) at Forest City (17-12)

Waterloo Columbus (20-23) at Union Community (27-11)

Iowa Falls-Alden (21-11) at Roland-Story (28-10)

Region 5

Waukon (10-18) at New Hampton (38-3)

Clear Lake (8-24) at Crestwood (18-16)

Oelwein (0-36) at Mount Vernon (30-10)

North Fayette Valley (12-14) at Jesup (21-13)

Region 6

Camanche (15-18) at Davenport Assumption (28-5)

Solon (15-21) at Benton Community (16-22)

Vinton-Shellsburg (14-23) at Independence (27-11)

Monticello (19-13) at Anamosa (16-12)

Region 7

South Tama (10-29) at Tipton (30-6)

Eddyville EBF (11-20) at Williamsburg (14-19)

Monroe PCM (5-22) at Nevada (30-9)

West Marshall (15-20) at North Polk (29-10)

Region 8

Mid-Prairie (6-21) at West Liberty (28-7)

Central Lee (22-10) at West Burlington (15-15)

Chariton (3-18) at Albia (27-9)

Centerville (10-16) at Davis County (18-16)

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

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