116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — There was an ultimatum.
“It’s up to you. Do you want to keep playing volleyball with your friends, or do you want to be done?”
And there was a Lion King reference.
“Remember who you are.”
Both offcourt comments came from Western Christian volleyball coach Tammi Veerbeek with her team facing a two-set deficit.
The Wolfpack remembered. They wanted to keep playing. And they extended an incomprehensible streak of volleyball success.
Third-ranked Western rallied past No. 7 Dyersville Beckman in a Class 2A quarterfinal, 24-26, 17-25, 25-13, 25-22, 15-12, at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday afternoon.
“They refused to be done,” Veerbeek said after the Wolfpack (39-5) won their 30th consecutive match.
That’s not the most startling streak they continued. They advanced to the state semifinals for the 21st consecutive year.
Western will face No. 9 Osage (29-9) in the next round at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“When we went to the third set, we had the mentality that we had nothing more to lose,” said Western’s Stella Winterfeld, who posted 19 kills.
The comeback was reminiscent of 2018, when Western rallied from a two-set deficit against Treynor in the first round, and went on to win the state championship.
Led by Iowa State recruit Kiersten Schmitt, Beckman (33-12) was outstanding in the first two sets.
“I’m proud of us,” Schmitt said. “We came here and had really high hopes.”
Veerbeek said, “We didn’t pass well the first two sets and let (Beckman) punch us in the mouth.”
Schmitt finished with a match-high 26 kills. Two of them came consecutively with Game 1 tied, 24-24.
The Blazers rolled through the second set, then Western started to look more like a typical Western squad.
They remembered who they were.
Western sprinted through Game 3, then prevailed in a back-and-forth Game 4. Down 19-18 and tied at 21, the Wolfpack made the plays at the end.
“The last three sets, we couldn’t find the holes,” Schmitt said. “We started tipping a lot.”
Beckman’s last lead was 7-6 in the fifth, then the Wolfpack scored three straight points and led the rest of the way.
“It’s tough,” Beckman setter Leah Wessels said. “We were the underdog, we played really well, but it’s sad when you don’t come out on top.”
Abby VerBurg added 13 kills for the winners. Ellie Dokter posted 12.
Schmitt was the lone Beckman attacker in double-figure kills. Lauren Osterhaus had nine. Wessels distributed 43 assists, and Olivia Hogan supplied 16 digs.