Prep Volleyball

Starmont's focus in 2A regional volleyball quarterfinal: Neutralize Maquoketa Valley's big hitter

Wildcats' Emerson Whittenbaugh leads the state in kills per set

Starmont volleyball coach Robert Goedken shouts to his team during a 2018 regional match. The Stars host Maquoketa Valle
Starmont volleyball coach Robert Goedken shouts to his team during a 2018 regional match. The Stars host Maquoketa Valley in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal match Wednesday. (The Gazette)

The strategy sounds simple.

“We know what we need to do,” Starmont volleyball coach Robert Goedken said. “We need to stop the coach’s daughter.”

Simple in theory. Not as easy to execute.

Maquoketa Valley hitter Emerson Whittenbaugh leads the state in kills per set (6.17) and owns an eye-opening .403 kill efficiency. She’ll be the center of attention when the Wildcats (15-12) visit Starmont (18-12) in a Class 2A regional quarterfinal Wednesday. First serve is 7 p.m. at Arlington.

Stopping Whittenbaugh probably isn’t a realistic venture. Slowing her down a little, that might be enough for the Stars, who defeated the Wildcats twice in the regular season.

“She’s really excited when she plays,” Goedken said. “She’ll take a swing at anything — a good set, a bad set. But we’ve been getting a lot more blocks, a lot more touches this year. Our defense has been what’s been winning games for us.”

The postseason rolls on Wednesday with regional quarterfinals in 2A and 1A, regional semifinals in 1A.

Among the area ranked teams in 3A, No. 3 Mount Vernon (28-6) hosts Williamsburg (19-15), No. 7 Union Community (29-9) welcomes Oelwein (5-30), No. 8 West Liberty (25-6) entertains Central Lee (22-7) and No. 13 Independence (24-7) hosts Vinton-Shellsburg (16-22), an upset winner over Monticello in the first round.

Dyersville Beckman (28-9) is the highest ranked area team, at No. 8. The Blazers host Bellevue (10-9) while No. 13 Jesup (15-12) welcomes Grundy Center (18-17) and No. 14 West Branch (18-12) hosts Mediapolis (9-20).

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In Class 1A, No. 7 Springville (24-4) hosts Bellevue Marquette (8-17) and No. 10 Lisbon (25-4) welcomes English Valleys (5-17).

Starmont was the champion of the Tri-Rivers Conference West Division while Maquoketa Valley tied for second place with Springville.

“That was really a feather in our hats,” said Goedken, who has only two seniors on his roster. “We weren’t a Saturday team against the bigger schools we played, but we had some success in our conference matches. Our focus what frustrating the opposing hitters.”

Wednesday’s Class 3A regional semifinals

(All matches, 7 p.m.)

Region 6

Oelwein (5-30) at Union Community (29-9)

Vinton-Shellsburg (16-22) at Independence (24-7)

Region 7

Williamsburg (19-15) at Mount Vernon (28-6)

Eddyville EBF (13-14) at Davis County (17-15)

Region 8

Maquoketa (14-14) at Davenport Assumption (20-2)

Central Lee (22-7) at West Liberty (25-6)

Wednesday’s Class 2A regional quarterfinals

(All matches, 7 p.m.)

Region 6

North Linn (16-12) at Denver (30-5)

Maquoketa Valley (15-12) at Starmont (18-12)

Iowa City Regina (13-9) at Waterloo Columbus (18-15)

Grundy Center (18-17) at Jesup (15-12)

Region 7

MFL MarMac (8-10) at Sumner-Fredericksburg (24-7)

Postville (3-14) at Clayton Ridge (11-7)

Bellevue (10-9) at Dyersville Beckman (28-9)

Cascade (17-7) at Hudson (26-7)

Region 8

Columbus Community (12-12) at Durant (6-14)

Louisa-Muscatine (8-5) at Wilton (29-3)

Mediapolis (9-20) at West Branch (18-12)

Van Buren County (10-14) at Cardinal (9-16)

Wednesday’s Class 1A regional quarterfinals

(All matches, 7 p.m.)

Region 4

North Tama (15-13) at Gladbrook-Reinbeck (25-2)

Lynnville-Sully (12-7) at Conrad BCLUW (19-15)

Anita CAM (22-5) at Stanton (23-5)

Ankeny Christian (17-12) vs. Grand View Christian (19-15), at Orient

Region 6

Don Bosco (13-17) at Wapsie Valley (17-7)

Edgewood-Colesburg (15-13) at Dunkerton (17-9)

Nashua-Plainfield (12-16) at Saint Ansgar (20-4)

Tripoli (18-13) at Turkey Valley (19-6)

Region 7

Bellevue Marquette (8-17) at Springville (24-4)

Easton Valley (11-13) at Clinton Prince of Peace (19-9)

Central City (13-11) at Belle Plaine (24-8)

HLV (13-9) at Montezuma (13-6)

Region 8

Highland (7-16) at Fort Madison Holy Trinity (25-9)

Burlington Notre Dame (14-5) at Winfield-Mount Union (21-6)

English Valleys (5-17) at Lisbon (25-4)

North Mahaska (10-9) at WACO (24-7)

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

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