116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — They have come a little closer each time.
Now the Denver Cyclones have the chance they wanted.
Three of No. 6 Denver’s seven losses this season have come to North Iowa Cedar League rival and defending Class 2A state champion Dike-New Hartford.
With its 25-17, 25-21, 25-17 win over No. 4 Boyden-Hull on Tuesday in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse, Denver has earned one final shot this season at the top-ranked Wolverines.
“If there is one to win, this would be it,” sophomore hitter Jessica Gergen said.
Gergen and her teammates were impressive in earning their spot opposite Dike-New Hartford, which defeated the Cyclones in three sets to in last year's title match.
“Being here last year helped,” Denver Coach Jamie Johnson said. “The three matches we played here were an incredible experience for us. With six starters back, we were ready today.”
The state experience showed most whenever Boyden-Hull (28-6) made big moves in the first two sets.
» Photo gallery: Denver vs. Boyden-Hull in state volleyball tournament
“I think we just stayed calm and confident,” Gergen said. “We didn't go in thinking about winning or losing. We just went in and played our game.”
Denver's balance was evident throughout. Gergen led a balanced offense with 10 kills. Kayla Knowles and Allison Bonnette had nine apiece.
“We didn't make any special adjustments,” Gergen said. “We just concentrated on doing what we needed to do.”
Johnson credited her team for coming up with big plays when they needed them most.
“Whenever (Boyden-Hull) would make a run, we were able to come up with a sideout when we needed it,” she said. “Being able to do that kept them from building up any momentum.”
Johnson knows her 37-7 team will likely have to play a near-perfect match to upset Dike-New Hartford. She said her players relish the chance.
“They're a great team,” Johnson said of the Wolverines. “What I appreciate about my girls is that every time we've played them we've gotten a little closer.
“We've had the big sister/little sister mentality for a long time. We keep trying to push through that and, honestly, for the first time I think my girls believe it can be done.”