CEDAR RAPIDS — They are sister schools, 16 miles away from each other.
Both are very good at volleyball. One is very, very good.
And for the first time in 17 years, they’ll meet at the state tournament.
Third-ranked Western Christian looked much more itself Thursday afternoon, sweeping No. 4 Sidney, 25-20, 25-17, 25-15, in a Class 2A semifinal at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We were a lot more comfortable today,” Macay Van’t Hul said. “We wanted to come out with a lot more energy.”
Unlike Wednesday, when it spotted Treynor the first two sets before roaring back, Western (41-5) was in control throughout.
Van’t Hul led a balanced attack with 12 kills and Madison Hofman served five aces.
As a reward, the Wolfpack advance to the 2A final for the ninth straight year and the 17th time in 18 years. That’s staggering.
Western will face No. 5 Unity Christian (32-6), its neighborhood rival, for the championship at 4:45 Friday afternoon. Both schools are rooted in the Christian Reformed faith.
“A lot of our girls go to grade school together,” Western Coach Tammi Veerbeek said. “A lot of them go to church together.
“There will be a lot of friends playing against each other, and I’m sure it will be emotionally charged.”
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Western Christian is playing in its 36th state tournament, and has won 16 championships. Unity is making its 20th appearance and has five titles, but is playing for its first since 2000.
The Wolfpack beat the Knights in the 2001 quarterfinals.
“It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net,” said Western setter Olivia Granstra, who dished out 29 assists. “We’re going to try to do what we do what we do best — serve aggressively and pass well, too.”
Kelsey Hobbie led Sidney (39-3) with 11 kills.
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