Prep Volleyball

Iowa high school volleyball: Preseason area Super 10 rankings

Last year's 4A state runner-up, Xavier tops the list with a loaded junior class

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Eve Magill attempts a save in last year's Class 4A state final against Dubuque Wahlert. The Saints open the 2019 season ranked No. 1 in The Gazette's area Super Ten. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Eve Magill attempts a save in last year's Class 4A state final against Dubuque Wahlert. The Saints open the 2019 season ranked No. 1 in The Gazette's area Super Ten. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Welcome to fall. And welcome to the 2019-20 school year. Practice begins Monday throughout Iowa for most high school sports, including volleyball. With that, here is a preseason installment of the area Super 10.

There has been some residence shuffling since a preliminary list was made last November. All-stater Jada Wills has moved from Dubuque Hempstead to Dyersville Beckman. Lauren Schrock transferred up Highway 1 from Solon to Mount Vernon. Elyse Winter went from Cedar Rapids Kennedy westward down 48th Street to Cedar Rapids Xavier. And Rylee Fay transferred from Iowa City West to Iowa City Liberty.

With all that in mind, here is the first list of the new school year:

1.

Cedar Rapids Xavier

2018: 29-9 (6-1 MVC Mississippi Division, 2nd)

Postseason: Class 4A state runner-up

The Saints had a strong junior class anyway, and the arrival of Winter makes it stronger. Six-foot-5 Creighton commit Eve Magill was the team leader in kills last season, and Jazmine Yamilkoski returns as setter. Katy Garrison gives the Saints another strong hitting option. The Saints are the top challenger to Cedar Falls in the MVC Mississippi Division, and probably will enter the season ranked No. 2 in 4A behind three-time defending champion Dubuque Wahlert, which topped the Saints in four sets for the title last year.
 
2.

West Delaware

2018: 33-11 (6-0 Wamac East Division, 1st)

Postseason: Class 4A state qualifier

Two things are certain — the Hawks will play at a faster pace than most of their opponents are comfortable with, and they’ll play excellent floor defense. Senior Macey Kleitsch is a returning 4A first-team all-state setter; her primary targets will be Allison Collier and Ava Hauser. Just a sophomore, Ella Koloc is the latest great West Delaware back-row player. Pencil Sept. 5 as a pivotal match in the Wamac East, when the Hawks travel to Mount Vernon.
 
3.

Iowa City Liberty

2018: 19-15 (2-5 MVC Valley Division, 6th)

Postseason: Class 4A regional quarterfinalist

True, the Lightning have not yet won a postseason match in their brief existence (Marion eliminated Liberty in each of its first two seasons), but this has all the makings of a breakout season in Liberty’s first year in Class 5A. Everybody from last year’s roster is back, led by hitters LeeAnn Potter (honorable mention all-state), Olivia Slattery and Sydney Woods. Haley Hested is the incumbent at setter, so Coach Randy Dolson will have some decisions to make with the arrival of Fay, a Missouri State commit.
 
4.

Iowa City High

2018: 24-13 (4-3 MVC Mississippi Division, T-3rd)

Postseason: Class 5A regional finalist

The “interim” tag is gone for Tricia Carty. It’s her program now. The top two hitters from 2018 have graduated, but there still are plenty of weapons, including seniors Kelsey Law and Mia Loughran. The setting duties were split last year between Lindsey Bolton and Makayla Ribble, and both are back. There’s a gap between the top two teams (Cedar Falls and Xavier) and the rest of the pack in the Mississippi Division, but the Little Hawks appear to be a strong third.
 
5.

Mount Vernon

2018: 28-16 (3-3 Wamac East Division, 4th)

Postseason: Class 3A state semifinalist

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The program certainly hasn’t slipped since Maggie Willems succeeded Shirley Ryan as the Mustangs’ coach; six of her eight seasons have ended at the U.S. Cellular Center. Schrock’s arrival bolsters an already-strong junior class; five of them were starters last year, including hitters Kamryn Ellison and Natalie Welch and libero Jorie Randall. If all the pieces fit together, this is a 3A state-championship contender for the next two seasons.
 
6.

West Liberty

2018: 26-11 (4-2 River Valley South Division, T-2nd)

Postseason: Class 3A regional semifinalist

The Comets are full of young firepower, led by sophomore Macy Daufeldt, a Drake commit who posted 3.46 kills per set. Junior Martha Pace added 2.69 kills per set, and both of them hit better than .400. Morgan Petersen is the setter with multiple options. Coach Ruben Galvan will try to find a back-row player to replace the graduated Macy Akers, and if he is successful, the Comets probably are an ever-so-slight favorite in a loaded RVC South.
 
7.

Tipton

2018: 39-4 (6-0 River Valley South Division, 1st)

Postseason: Class 3A state runner-up

Graduation claimed four starters, but Tipton has the area’s top player in multi-talented Sommer Daniel, a University of Utah recruit and the reigning Class 3A state player of the year. Also back is Kamryn Chapman, the Tigers’ third-leading hitter in 2018, and libero Karlee Kamberling. The graduation losses will sting, but word has it that there are new players waiting to take those positions and run with them. Tipton hosts West Liberty on Sept. 19 in the likely RVC South match of the year.
 
8.

Clear Creek Amana

2018: 26-15 (4-2 Wamac West Division, 3rd)

Postseason: Class 4A regional finalist

The Wamac West will have a different look to it with Independence and Center Point-Urbana losing a good chunk of their rosters to graduation, and that moves CCA to the role of frontrunner (though Benton Community should challenge). The Clippers bring back two young hitters — sophomore Calia Clubb and junior Hailey Pollock — that averaged more than 2 kills per set, and senior setter Cheyaenne Bunch is back to make the offense hum.
 
9.

Linn-Mar

2018: 32-10 (6-1 MVC Valley Division, 2nd)

Postseason: Class 5A state semifinalist

After two straight trips to the 5A state semifinals, a lot of familiar faces and names have moved on, including two-time Gazette player of the year Megan Renner (now at Purdue). Emily Strauss (1.98 kills per set) becomes the featured hitter in an attack that also includes Allison Feigenbaum. Bank on Teresa Bair keeping the Lions competitive in the MVC and being a dangerous team by October.
 
10.

North Tama

2018: 26-8 (6-0 Iowa Star South Division, 1st)

Postseason: Class 1A regional finalist

The Redhawks made their state-tournament debut in 2017, but were tripped in the regional finals last year by Gladbrook-Reinbeck. They should bounce back with a vengeance with a lineup that returns 78 percent of its kills, 99 percent of its assists and 84 percent of its digs. North Tama is the only area team to return two all-staters — Katie Kopriva was a second-team pick, Takoa Kopriva was a third-teamer. This absolutely is a top-five team in 1A and has a chance to make a statement Oct. 8, when Tripoli comes to Traer.
 
 

Area class rankings

Class 5A — 1. Iowa City Liberty (19-15), 2. Iowa City High (24-13), 3. Linn-Mar (32-10), 4. Cedar Rapids Prairie (18-21), 5. Cedar Rapids Jefferson (37-7)

Class 4A — 1. Cedar Rapids Xavier (29-9), 2. West Delaware (33-11), 3. Clear Creek Amana (26-15), 4. Marion (20-20), 5. Center Point-Urbana (28-13)

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Class 3A — 1. Mount Vernon (28-16), 2. West Liberty (26-11), 3. Tipton (39-4), 4. Union Community (29-15), 5. Benton Community (22-18)

Class 2A — 1. Dyersville Beckman (44-4), 2. Cascade (19-15), 3. West Branch (24-15), 4. North Cedar (21-18), 5. Maquoketa Valley (15-13)

Class 1A — 1. North Tama (26-8), 2. Montezuma (30-7), 3. Elkader Central (22-8), 4. East Buchanan (22-14), 5. West Central (13-17)

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

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