Prep Volleyball

Volleyball notes: Independence gets a crucial early Wamac West win

Mustangs top CCA to take control of divisional race

Independence Mustangs
Independence Mustangs

It’s far too early to use a Sharpie, declaring Independence as the Wamac Conference West Division volleyball champion.

But if you want to scribble in the Mustangs, lightly with a pencil for now, feel free.

Playing only their second match so far in September, Class 3A 10th-ranked Independence rode the outside tandem of Grace Bohlken and Alexis Hearn to a four-set victory over 4A No. 7 Clear Creek Amana on Tuesday at Independence.

“Yeah, it was a big one for us. A tough one,” Independence Coach Joe Schmitz said. “We made some big plays at clutch times.”

Tuesday’s outcome put the Mustangs (6-2, 2-0) alone in first place in the West. There are still four divisional matches to play, but Indee should be a significant favorite in all of them.

The Mustangs were at a size disadvantage in the middle of the net, so they relied on Bohlken (17 kills) and Hearn (16) on the pin.

“Grace has been battling a shoulder issue, and she’s fighting through it,” Schmitz said. “She’s ready to fight every night out there.

The end of the second set was the juncture that got the Mustangs over the top. Trailing 23-20, they scored the final five points for a 2-0 lead in sets.

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Clear Creek Amana (8-3, 2-1) rallied from a 22-19 deficit to capture the third set and extend the match, then Indee regained momentum in Game 4 behind eight Bohlken kills to close it out.

Reese Martin added nine kills Tuesday, and Elle Greiner posted 40 assists.

“I’ve really got to credit our leadership,” Schmitz said. “It’s a very junior- and senior-type team.”

After a slow stretch, the Mustangs’ schedule picks up now, with a non-conference match at Decorah on Thursday and a trip to Manchester for the West Delaware Invitational on Saturday.

Decorah Vikings finally catch the Comets

When Decorah outlasted Charles City in a five-set thriller Tuesday, it marked the Vikings’ first win over the Comets since 2006.

Charles City had beaten the Vikings 32 consecutive times in Northeast Iowa Conference play, NEIC tournaments and the postseason.

Six different attackers collected at least six kills for the Vikings (5-2), led by Emma Nierengarten’s 14.

Tri-Rivers play opens Thursday

Divisional play finally gets started Thursday with four matches in the West Division and a showdown in the East.

Lisbon (5-3) travels to Clinton Prince of Peace (8-3) in a battle of the only two East teams above .500.

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Six teams could be a factor in the West — Springville (8-1), Maquoketa Valley (5-1), Central City (8-2), Edgewood-Colesburg (7-3), Starmont (3-2) and North Linn (6-6).

Maquoketa Valley visits Ed-Co on Thursday, and Springville is at Central City.

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

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