CEDAR RAPIDS — Western Dubuque was the story of the Class 4A state volleyball tournament.
But Sergeant Bluff-Luton was the best team. By a wide margin, it turned out.
“We wanted to show why we were ranked No. 1 and show the state that this is our year,” Kenzie Foley said.
The Warriors completed their third consecutive sweep at the U.S. Cellular Center, handling No. 10 Western Dubuque, 25-20, 25-14, 25-18, for their first state championship.
“Honestly, I was expecting this to be a five-set match,” SBL Coach Renee Winkel said. “We were ready for a battle.”
Instead, the Warriors (37-3) put on another clinic behind Foley, the all-tournament captain who accumulated 20 kills. And they did it by dominating the serve-and-pass game. SBL delivered 10 aces; Western Dubuque (24-14) had none.
“They were tough servers,” Western Dubuque sophomore Meredith Bahl said. “We had trouble keeping the ball in system. We had to keep the other side out of system, and we couldn’t do that.”
The Bobcats started three sophomores and two freshmen. They had been fearless in the postseason, conquering three-time defending champion Dubuque Wahlert in the regional semifinals and No. 2-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier in the state quarterfinals.
“That’s where we were two years ago,” Winkel said.
Bobcats Coach Megan Scherrman said, “I don’t think anybody expected us to be here. Once we get a day or two away from this, the girls will look back and be really proud.”
“We’ll definitely be back here the next two years,” Bahl said.
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Western Dubuque’s only real opening came in the first set. Down 15-9, the Bobcats embarked on a 10-3 run that put them in front, 19-18.
But the Warriors quickly regained momentum behind Foley, who had two kills and a block in a set-closing 7-1 spree.
“We didn’t play our best,” Western Dubuque’s Maddie Harris said. “They outhustled us and outplayed us. We got a little in our own heads.”
Elle Sneller added 11 kills and joined Foley on the all-tournament team. Western Dubuque was represented by Bahl (13 kills) and Harris (seven kills).
Marion’s Delaney Rice, West Delaware’s Macey Kleitsch and Waverly-Shell Rock’s Jaz Westmoreland rounded out the team.
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