CEDAR RAPIDS — Kenzie Foley remembered that West Delaware likes to play fast.
“We know their tempo. They have a great setter,” Foley said. “We just had to slow them down and shut them down as much as we could.”
Foley collected 20 kills, and top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton kept No. 5 West Delaware on its heels in a Class 4A semifinal sweep (25-22, 25-15, 25-15) at the state volleyball tournament Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We just didn’t have many opportunities to run our tempo and play our game,” West Delaware’s Ava Hauser said. “That was the big thing.”
SBL (36-3) heads to the championship match for the second time — it was the 4A runner-up in 2017 — and faces No. 10 Western Dubuque (24-13) at 12:15 Friday afternoon. The young Bobcats ousted No. 8 Marion in four sets Thursday.
The Warriors had witnessed West Delaware’s unique style of play before, defeating the Hawks in the quarterfinals last year. This was more of the same.
West Delaware (40-6) had an opportunity in the opening set, scoring five consecutive points for an 18-17 advantage. But after an SBL timeout, Foley got the Warriors even with a kill, starting a seven-point run that she capped with a block.
“Our setters were putting up good balls for me,” said Foley, who led all attackers with 20 kills.
The Hawks scored four straight points to creep within 24-22, then Foley’s kill ended the set.
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“Winning the first set was very critical,” SBL’s Elle Sneller said. “After we got the first-set nerves out, we were able to get right to business.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton finished with a 44-22 advantage in kills.
“The difference was that their back line got to the ball more consistently than ours did,” West Delaware Coach Brett Mather said. “I’m not happy with how we received the ball today. That was a difference-maker. We just didn’t execute our offense like we needed to.”
West Delaware setter Macey Kleitsch said, “Instead of being in control, we were reactive.”
SBL put together an 11-4 run in Game 2 to take a commanding 16-9 lead, then rolled to a 21-7 advantage in the closer.
Hauser led the Hawks with seven kills. Kleitsch collected 16 assists and 11 digs.
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