116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VINTON — Don Bosco's Jenni Schares had a good feeling about her team from the start of the season.
The Dons volleyball coach said she knew during the summer she might have something special on her hands.
So far, her players have proved her right.
No. 8 Don Bosco came into Wednesday night's Class 1A Region 6 final against No. 10 North Cedar with a plan and executed it to perfection en route to a 25-19, 25-19, 25-10 win at Vinton-Shellsburg High School.
The Dons (28-12), who have rolled through the postseason without dropping a set so far, advance to the state tournament where they will play No. 7 Ankeny Christian (36-3) in a quarterfinal match next Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Coralville's Xtream Arena.
North Cedar ends its season at 27-10.
“These girls have prepared for this since the summer,” Shares said. “This was something they had on their list that they wanted to accomplish this year and nothing was going to stop them from that.”
Don Bosco's plan was to try and neutralize North Cedar's Caitlin Jensen, who had 34 kills in the Knights' regional semifinal win over Edgewood-Colesburg.
“We knew that No. 1 (Jensen) was their really good hitter,” said Don Bosco sophomore Kennedi McGarvey. “I think we served the ball really well and that made it tough for them to get their offense started.”
Shares agreed with her sophomore standout.
“We got them out of system quite a bit so their big hitter (Jensen) wasn't able to do as much as she usually does,” she said. “I think that really helped us a lot tonight and our tough serving also got them out of system a lot.”
Even with their struggles, the Knights competed hard. Twice they closed big gaps in the first set, before falling 25-19.
Again in Set 2, North Cedar was making a charge when disaster struck. Junior setter Presley Studt went down in agony as her team was on a run and appeared to have some momentum. Studt was helped to the bench and had her knee wrapped in ice, unable to return.
With Studt sidelined, Coach Kori Boleyn was forced to make some quick adjustments, moving senior Mayson Lehrmann to the setter position.
Lehrmann did an admirable job, helping the Knights cut the margin to 21-18 in the second set. However, Don Bosco reeled off four of the next five points to take the set.
It was all Dons in the third set as they jumped to an 8-2 advantage and never looked back.
“Everybody on our team can put the ball away,” McGarvey said. “That's why we are successful. We can set the ball to anybody and they will put it down. We can't wait for a chance to play at the state tournament.”