Sure, Ruben Galvan would like to see a little more of a killer instinct from his volleyball team.
But he’s not going to force it.
“This team kind of turns the switch off and on,” said Galvan, coach at West Liberty High School. “It’s high, it’s medium, it’s low.”
It’s going to have to be extra high Thursday.
In a match that’s sure to decide the River Valley Conference South Division championship, Class 3A sixth-ranked West Liberty (18-0, 5-0 RVC South) visits 2A No. 2 Wilton (23-0, 5-0).
They are two of five remaining unbeatens throughout the state (Humboldt, East Sac County and Southeast Warren are the others). First serve is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Wilton High School.
“We’ve got to be ready,” Galvan said. “Wilton will make you very uncomfortable, both on the offensive side and the defensive side.”
Now, about that killer-instinct comment ...
“That’s just the personality of these kids,” Galvan said. “They’re great kids, and to their credit, they don’t make the game bigger than it is.
“I’ve thought about this: Who are we? What’s our identity? I think we’re the type of team that goes out, and when the situation lends itself to stepping up, they take that challenge.”
It’s not as if the Comets have been slacking. They have won 42 of 43 sets this season.
In a sweep of Durant on Tuesday, senior Martha Pace and junior Macy Daufeldt both crossed the 1,000-kill mark for their careers.
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A Drake University commit, Daufeldt (4.38 kills per set) ranks No. 3 in the state (all classes) in kill efficiency at .485. Pace adds 4.00 kills per set. Sophomore Monica Morales leads the back-row crew with 4.88 digs per match.
Wilton, the owner of a 52-0 record in sets, counters with the junior hitting duo of Carly Puffer (4.02 kills per set, .469 kill efficiency) and Kelsey Drake (3.80, .442).
“They have a solid all-around team,” Galvan said. “We have to try to contain their top players.”
By the numbers
Area players lead the state in two major statistical categories.
Maquoketa Valley’s Emerson Whittenbaugh is No. 1 is kills per set at 6.09. The senior has 262 kills (against 64 errors) and sports a .394 efficiency.
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Jazmine Yamilkoski is tops in assists per set at 10.14. Yamilkoski has committed to Tennessee Tech University.
Countdown to postseason
Expect to see postseason pairings from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union late next week.
Regionals begin Oct. 19 in classes 1A, 2A and 3A, Oct. 20 in 4A and 5A. Regional finals are Oct. 27 in 3A, 4A and 5A, Oct. 28 in 1A and 2A.
The state tournament is Nov. 2-5 at the U.S. Cellular Center.
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