CEDAR RAPIDS — Dubuque Wahlert’s Aliyah Carter had a lot to smile about Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
The 5-foot-9 junior with a 35-inch vertical leap took over Thursday’s Class 4A state semifinal against top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton, leading the two-time defending champion Golden Eagles back to the final with an 18-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-15 win.
“I’ve loved this sport ever since I laid a hand on a volleyball,” she said, smiling like she did most of the match Thursday.
Wahlert (25-12) will play second-ranked Xavier on Friday at 12:15 for the 4A title.
“I know we can do it,” Carter said after collecting 24 kills. “We just need to believe in ourselves.”
The four-set match was tight from start to finish with the Warriors building leads of 12-5 and 20-12 before taking the first set on a three-point run. The other three sets were even more intense, with Wahlert leading by no more than five points until the end. The third and fourth were more of the same.
“It was very intense,” Wahlert Coach Lindsey Beaves said. “We struggled passing in that first set.”
But when the Golden Eagles turned up the aggressiveness and “made less errors at the net,” the tide turned just enough.
“We kind of got back to the game-plan,” Beaves said.
Carter said she would feel the momentum turning after that first set.
“We can just tell the switch — the energy,” she said.
Carolyn Conlon and Grace Lueken had 10 kills each for Wahlert.
Madison Harms had 12 kills for the Warriors (35-7).
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