Prep Volleyball

Volleyball notebook: West Delaware, Beckman battle for Wamac East title Thursday

Blazers have a star in Jada Wills; Hawks counter with pace and balance

West Delaware’s Macey Kleitsch tries to keep the ball inbounds during last year’s Westside Invitational volleyball tournament. The Hawks play at Dyersville Beckman in a Wamac Conference East Division showdown Thursday. (The Gazette)
West Delaware’s Macey Kleitsch tries to keep the ball inbounds during last year’s Westside Invitational volleyball tournament. The Hawks play at Dyersville Beckman in a Wamac Conference East Division showdown Thursday. (The Gazette)

Brett Mather knows better.

The volleyball coach at West Delaware High School, Mather is a realist. He knows his team won’t shut down Dyersville Beckman hitter Jada Wills.

“She’s going to score some points; that’s all there is to it,” Mather said. “When she does, we need to move past it and go after the next one.”

The Wamac Conference East Division race goes to its final, climactic night Thursday, when Class 4A fifth-ranked West Delaware (30-3 overall, 5-0 division) faces 2A No. 3 Beckman (34-5, 5-0) at Dyersville.

“It’s going to be a fun match,” Mather said. “Obviously, they have one really big hitter, but they also have others capable of putting the ball down.

“We’re probably a little more balanced. It will be a fun showdown.”

A senior and a Drake University commit, Wills is averaging 4.01 kills per set with a sparkling .473 kill efficiency.

As Mather said, the Hawks are the more balanced unit with Allison Collier (2.33 kills per set), Ava Hauser (2.27) and Kinley Kolbet (2.26) the primary weapons.

Setter Macey Kleitsch (8.82 assists per set) in a returning 4A first-team all-stater and a four-year starter.

“She distributes the ball so well, and she has incredible hands,” Mather said.

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West Delaware has long been known for its fast tempo and its floor defense. And Mather said both of those strengths much be in play for the Hawks to prevail.

“A big part of what we do is serve reception,” he said. “We’ve got to pass the ball well to get our offense going. If we run our tempo, it creates a lot of havoc for a lot of teams.”

In the Wamac West, Center Point-Urbana (16-13, 5-1) has concluded divisional play and has wrapped up a share of the divisional title. Independence (20-8, 4-1) and Clear Creek Amana (17-10, 4-1) both have an opportunity to join the Stormin’ Pointers at the top.

Indee has a challenge at Benton Community (13-15, 3-2) Thursday; CCA hosts Vinton-Shellsburg (13-18, 0-5).

It's time for the Westside

The Westside Invitational, hosted by Cedar Rapids Jefferson, is the area’s last major tournament of the regular season.

And the best.

The 16-team event begins at 8:30 Saturday morning with pool play. Bracket elimination action is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m., with the championship slated for 5:30.

Eleven of the 16 teams are ranked, including all four in one pool (West Liberty, Ankeny Centennial, Dike-New Hartford and Cedar Rapids Kennedy).

Along with West Liberty, the other top pool seeds are West Delaware, West Des Moines Dowling and Grundy Center.

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

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