116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Fifteen points is a lot to chew on.
So as the Marion Wolves readied for Tuesday’s fifth set against Mount Vernon — one that would determine whether a divisional-championship banner could be hung — Coach Roxanne Paulsen chunked it up into bite-sized portions.
“We had kind of got some momentum back at the end of the fourth set, and we were trying to get back to what had been clicking earlier in the match,” Paulsen said. “So we chunked that game up into little segments ... let’s get a couple of points here, let’s get three points there.”
The result was a 15-8 triumph in the finale. And, with some help from West Delaware, a three-way tie for the Wamac Conference East Division title.
In the area’s biggest four-team gauntlet, Marion (27-6 overall), West Delaware (30-3) and Dyersville Beckman (26-10) all finished 4-1. Mount Vernon (24-10, 2-3) took two of those three teams to five sets, the other to four.
“I feel really good about where we’re at, at this point,” Paulsen said. “If you win this division, whether you win it by yourselves or with other teams, you have to feel good.”
The majority of the area races concluded, or were at least decided, Tuesday. Among them:
All three of the Valley Division co-leaders took care of business and will share the title; Cedar Rapids Xavier (25-3 overall), Cedar Rapids Kennedy (19-6) and Iowa City West (12-12) finished 6-1 in divisional play.
“It means a lot, absolutely,” Xavier’s Bella Musick said after the Saints swept Dubuque Hempstead. “But, obviously, we’re not finished yet.”
Iowa City Liberty (24-4, 7-0) wrapped up the Mississippi Division crown.
The four-team MVC championship pool, consisting of Liberty, Cedar Falls (23-5), Xavier and Kennedy is Tuesday at Xavier.
Clear Creek Amana (20-8, 5-0) has earned a piece of the title and can win it outright with a home win Thursday against Vinton-Shellsburg (16-12, 3-2). If not, the Clippers will be joined at the top by Thursday’s winner between Independence (19-8, 4-1) and Benton Community (18-10, 4-1), who square off in Van Horne.
Tournament pool play is Monday at Mount Vernon and Center Point; championship brackets are next Thursday at Marion.
Springville (24-3, 6-0) earned a share of the West Division crown with a straight-set win at Starmont (13-8, 5-1). Meanwhile, Lisbon (29-5, 5-0) clinched a piece of its fifth straight East Division title by sweeping Easton Valley (14-6, 4-1).
The Orioles and the Lions are heavily favored to win their respective divisions solo Thursday. Springville is at Alburnett; Lisbon has a road test with Cedar Valley Christian.
Tournament play opens next Thursday with yet-to-be-assigned pools. The tournament finals are Oct. 16 at Wheatland.
Monticello (14-7, 6-0) is the North Division champion; Wilton (23-1, 6-0) rules the South.
Tuesday’s tournament pool play is divided among four sites, with eight teams advancing to the championship bracket next Thursday at Wilton.