Prep Volleyball

Scrappy Red Oak sweeps Nevada to set up rematch with Kuemper at state volleyball

Tigers will face conference foe in 3A semifinals

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Red Oak volleyball team has been the envy of others at times this season.

Opponents have asked how they could learn to work as hard for each other as the third-ranked Tigers do.

“We are a very well-rounded team,” Red Oak senior outside hitter Chloe Johnson said after the Tigers swept No. 10 Nevada, 26-24, 25-15, 25-19, in a Class 3A state quarterfinal match Wednesday at the U.S. Cellular Center. “We just do not have one or two players. Our scrappiness helps a lot.”

Johnson posted nine kills and eight digs for Red Oak (34-6), while senior outside hitter Sophie Walker added 14 kills and 14 digs. Both Johnson (1,240 kills) and Walker (1,174) surpassed the career 1,000-kill mark earlier this season and rank 1-2 in school history.

The Tigers were pushed early by Nevada and even fought off a 24-23 deficit in Set 1 with three points in a row for the win.

“We started off, I think the nerves got the best of us today,” Walker said. “But then we knew that if we played our game, we could beat them.”

Red Oak led by as many as 12 points on two occasions in Set 2, then charged out of the third set with a convincing 13-3 opening burst.

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Sophomore outside hitter Lexi Johnson chipped in 10 kills and 17 digs for the Tigers, while three players — senior setter Ellie Rengstorf (12), junior defensive specialist Abbey Jones (11) and junior setter Chloe DeVries (10) — recorded a double-digit assist number.

Drake recruit Kacie Rewerts led all players with 17 kills for Nevada, which bows out at 33-10.

Red Oak earned a 3A state semifinal matchup Thursday at 2 p.m. against defending 3A state champion Carroll Kuemper (36-4). The two teams know each other well, as the Tigers were swept by the Knights in last year’s regional final, then dropped a five-set match earlier this season at Kuemper.

“It was really close the whole way,” Walker said. “We know a lot about them and they probably know a lot about us, so it will be a good one.”

“We’re coming,” Johnson added.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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