Prep Volleyball

4th-set comeback rescues No. 1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton in state volleyball quarterfinals

Warriors oust West Delaware in 4A first-rounder

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s no mystery that the West Delaware Hawks like to run fast.

So Macey Kleitsch’s post-match observation was filled with irony.

“We would let one mistake turn into two,” she said. “Sometimes, the game just got a little too fast for us.”

And top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton was a little too big, a little too good. The Warriors defeated No. 8 West Delaware, 25-15, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Sergeant Bluff-Luton (35-6) rallied from a 12-6 deficit in the fourth set to avoid an anything-can-happen fifth.

“Everything is earned, not given,” SBL’s Elle Sneller said. “From here on out, we’ve got to work for everything we get.”

Last year’s runner-up, SBL advances to face No. 4 Dubuque Wahlert (24-12) in a semifinal at noon Thursday. Wahlert outlasted No. 5 Independence in five sets.

Watch match point


West Delaware (33-11) was competitive, but was a little too erratic to turn it into a down-to-the-wire nail-biter. The Hawks committed 29 attack errors and hit .081.

“When we’re not able to get our middle hitters involved, we struggle,” Hawks Coach Brett Mather said. “It makes us one-dimensional, and we can’t be one-dimensional. And we didn’t give Macey enough chances to hit, because when she does, she can terminate points.”

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The Hawks were making their first state appearance since winning the title in 2015. The Warriors stuffed them early before they recovered to take the second set.

“I think we were really scared at the beginning,” Kleitsch said. “We wanted to show who we were, and prove that we belonged.”

Sergeant Bluff-Luton controlled the third set, then rallied in the fourth.

SBL’s Kenzie Foley led all attackers with 20 kills. Madison Harms added 14, Sneller 12. All three are 6-foot-plus.

“They were hard to hit around,” said Claire Demmer, who led the Hawks with 15 kills. “Mather put up chairs in practice to try to (replicate) that.”

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

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