CEDAR RAPIDS — That laugher of a first set was a distant memory. A harsh reality was setting in.
“It really hit us after the third set that it was now or never,” Western Dubuque setter Madison Maahs said.
Fifth-ranked Western Dubuque opted for “now” and rallied past No. 6 Sergeant Bluff-Luton in a five-set Class 4A state volleyball quarterfinal Monday evening at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
Scores were 25-14, 19-25, 20-25, 25-13 and 15-11.
The Bobcats (25-10) broke a 7-7 tie in the final set with a 6-1 run, and advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal round. They’ll face No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier in a semifinal at 12:30 p.m. The Saints (24-6) swept Dallas Center-Grimes on Monday.
“It’s going to be a great matchup, and I’m sure they’ll be ready,” Maahs said. “If we focus on our side of the net, we’ll be fine.”
Western Dubuque upset Xavier in a five-set quarterfinal last year.
The Bobcats rolled through the first set Monday before the defending champions from Sergeant Bluff-Luton (23-7) flipped the momentum.
“We needed to make sure we were playing our volleyball,” Bobcats Coach Megan Scherrman said. “The second and third sets, we were playing a lot of defense against their offense.”
As abruptly as SBL took control, Western Dubuque took it back.
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With the fourth set tied, 5-5, the Bobcats scored seven straight points. The run was highlighted by back-to-back aces from Ella Meyer.
Western Dubuque followed with a pair of five-point runs in the set and was never threatened.
SBL made three errors in the Bobcats’ decisive push in the fifth set. Meredith Bahl had two kills in the run, Maddie Harris one.
Harris added another kill to get Western Dubuque to match point at 14-9. After the Warriors erased two potential match-enders, an errant serve clinched it.
Meg Besler led Western Dubuque with 13 kills. Libby Lansing was outstanding out of the middle, adding 12 kills and posting a .458 efficiency.
“(Maahs) and I had a good connection,” Lansing said. “We knew where we wanted to go. We had it all planned out.”
Harris also put down 12 kills, Bahl 10. And Maahs, the crafty junior setter, engineered it all with 44 assists to go with 14 digs.
Andy Mosier paces Sergeant Bluff-Luton with 17 kills. Emma Salker added 15.
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