CEDAR RAPIDS — Take it, the Valley Tigers told themselves. Because nothing will be given.
Mired in a 19-all tie in the fourth set, third-ranked West Des Moines Valley closed out the match with six consecutive points and downed No. 6 West Des Moines Dowling in a Class 5A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Scores were 25-12, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-19.
“We went to the huddle, and we knew we couldn’t expect them to give us anything. We had to earn it,” Valley’s Payton Lombardi said. “We came back out and got it done.”
Valley (41-4) advances to face No. 7 Pleasant Valley (30-5) in a semifinal at 10 a.m. Thursday. Pleasant Valley upset No. 2 Iowa City Liberty in a four-setter earlier Tuesday.
The Tigers won their 14th straight match and defeated their crosstown rivals for the third time this season.
“It’s always a joy to beat Dowling,” Lombardi said. “I love it. I love to see it.”
Valley raced through the first two sets, and when the Tigers led 20-15 in the third, a sweep appeared imminent. But down 22-19, the Maroons (32-12) scored five points in a row and eventually took the set on Mira Baccile’s block.
Game 4 was tight until Valley’s deciding surge. Hayden Kubik had a block and a kill in the final run, and three Dowling errors were key.
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“We kind of went back to the basics,” said Kubik, who led all attackers with 20 kills. “We focused on every point, one at a time.”
Lombardi, a junior, had been the Tigers’ libero through her first two varsity seasons. She’s an outside hitter now.
“At first it was an adjustment, but it made sense because I’m the second tallest player on the team now,” she said. “My teammates were so supportive about it.”
Anna Godfredsen had 11 kills for Dowling.
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