Prep Volleyball

Balanced West Delaware knocks off Waverly-Shell Rock in state volleyball quarterfinals

Hawks get rematch with No. 1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton next

CEDAR RAPIDS — The West Delaware volleyball offensive attack runs through senior setter Macey Kleitsch.

The two-time Wamac East Player of the Year and Grand View commit makes sure the opponent can’t guess where the ball is coming from.

“I thought we did a great job of getting the ball up to Macey,” West Delaware Coach Brett Mather said after the fifth-ranked Hawks overwhelmed No. 4 Waverly-Shell Rock, 25-16, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, in a Class 4A quarterfinal match Tuesday night at the state volleyball tournament inside the U.S. Cellular Center. “If you can get the ball to Macey, she is going to get a lot of one-on-one looks for you. If you look across the board for our hitters, we were about as balanced as you could get for a team. … It is hard to focus on any one player and I think that is what we did real well tonight.”

West Delaware (40-5) displayed the type of offensive versatility that makes a team tough to defend this time of year. Sophomore outside hitter Carlee Smith led the Hawks with 12 kills, but four more players — Kleitsch (11), senior middle hitter Kinley Kolbet (10), junior outside hitter Ava Hauser (9) and senior outside hitter Allison Collier (7) — accounted for at least seven.

“Sometimes it is hard if you have one hitter because they might get a couple kills, but after that, then you know the ball is going to them,” Kleitsch said. “If we can get the attention on one person and then get it to another person, it is just hard to cover the whole net with blocks.”

West Delaware quickly dispelled any notion that its seed rendered it an underdog by taking the attack to the Go-Hawks in the first set. A comfortable win in Set 1 had Waverly-Shell Rock fighting uphill the rest of the night.

“We were really ready to go,” Kleitsch said. “We came here earlier today and just watched to take in the atmosphere and then we left. When we came back, we were ready to go. We were just excited and grateful for the opportunity to be here, but we also want more. We never settle for anything.”

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After Waverly-Shell Rock tied the match at a set apiece, West Delaware extended its 19-17 lead in the third set by scoring the final six points, highlighted by four ace serves from sophomore Kayla Felton. With the Go-Hawks backed into a corner down two sets to one, West Delaware dropped the hammer in the decisive fourth set by breaking a 16-16 tie with a 9-4 closing surge.

“Just going for it,” West Delaware sophomore libero Ella Koloc said. “Not tipping, not playing to lose. Playing to win.”

Chicago State commit Jaz Westmoreland led Waverly-Shell Rock (46-7) with 21 kills.

West Delaware will play a 4A state semifinal Thursday at noon against No. 1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (35-3), the same team that eliminated the Hawks in the quarterfinal round last season.

“We will definitely look at their tendencies and their strengths and weaknesses,” Kleitsch said. “I think we mainly need to focus on our side and keep working on keeping a good mindset and our defense is a big thing for us. If we can get our blocks and keep digging everything up, that will be good for us.”

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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