Prep Volleyball

Western Christian reaches state volleyball championship match for 10th straight year

Wolfpack hold off a gritty, young Osage squad in straight sets

CEDAR RAPIDS — Each of her teams, Tammi Veerbeek said, has a unique indentity.

“Every group is different,” she said. “This team really plays for each other. They don’t care who gets the kills or who gets to come into the media room.”

Different identities, but a common destination.

Top-ranked Western Christian advanced to the Class 2A state volleyball final for the 10th consecutive year — and the 18th time in 19 years — with a 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 sweep of No. 5 Osage on Thursday at the U.S. Cellular Center.

“I still get butterflies, like I did my first year,” said Veerbeek, who has racked up a 914-101 mark at her alma mater. “Every year, it’s different kids, And I don’t want to go into the locker room afterward and see the kids upset afterward.”

The Wolfpack (40-5) will face No. 3 Dyersville Beckman (42-8) for the championship at 4:45 p.m. Friday. Beckman swept No. 7 Clarion CGD Thursday.

Western was upended by Sheldon in a 2009 semifinal, but has cleared every hurdle at this level since. This wasn’t a cakewalk.

“They’re young and dangerous,” Veerbeek said of the Green Devils (37-7), who don’t have a senior starter. “Sometimes young can make them even more dangerous.”

“We knew they had two good hitters, so once we started getting our blocks up, that helped a lot,” said Macay Van’t Hul, who had three of Western’s 15 blocks.

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Tori Wynja led the Wolfpack with 14 kills, and Van’t Hul added 10. Osage actually had more kills (44-39) than the Wolfpack, but made 23 attack errors, compared to nine for Western.

“They’re a great team and they knew what to do,” Osage’s Paige Kisley said. “With their block, it’s hard because you have a split-second to hit, and it’s hard to adjust.”

Kisley paced the Green Devils with 12 kills. Ellie Bobinet posted 41 assists.

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

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