CEDAR RAPIDS — Kara Peter and her Carroll Kuemper teammates were not going to go quietly.
Down 2-1 in sets, 19-17 in Game 4 and 13-12 in Game 5 to No. 6 Osage, the top-ranked Knights leaned hard on 6-foot-3 junior middle hitter. Time after time, when Kuemper needed a big play, Peter came through.
She finished with 26 kills and seven blocks as the Knights got past the Green Devils, 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13, in a Class 3A semifinal Thursday afternoon at US Cellular Center.
Kuemper (44-1) will go after the state title at 2:30 p.m. Friday against No. 2 Tipton, which ousted Mount Vernon in four sets.
Osage retires at 30-7.
Kuemper had state semifinal heartbreak last year, losing a 2-0 lead and falling to eventual state champion Waterloo Columbus.
The Knights remembered that heartbreak and used it as motivation after falling behind Osage.
“We just had to stay up and play as one,” Peter said. “Our team chemistry is insane this year. We are such a family and having the chance to play for a state title.”
Peter and senior Aimee Adams led the Knights to a convincing 25-18 win in Game 1. However, Osage took control in the next two games as sophomore Danielle Johnson and senior Sydney Midlang provided solid play with Kuemper struggling with its attack.
“We started beating ourselves,” Peter said. “We just needed to build our momentum and get back to playing the way we know how.”
As the points became more important, Peter knew the ball would find her.
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“I knew I had to keep swinging,” she said. “All of our hitters were doing a really good job and I was really feeling it. I knew I could come through.”
Adams added 19 kills and 17 digs for the Knights. Mallory Badding had 22 digs and two ace serves. Maci Overmohle had 56 assists.
Johnson led Osage with 18 kills. Midlang added 17 and Page Kisley finished with 13. Rylie Olson had 54 assists.