116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
INDEPENDENCE — In the first four sets, it was far from vintage Kiersten Schmitt for Dyersville Beckman.
The Trailblazers' senior outside hitter had her moments in the first four games of Wednesday night's Class 2A regional volleyball final with Wapsie Valley at Independence High School.
But when her team needed her most in the decisive fifth set, Schmitt was at her best. The 6-foot Iowa State recruit simply controlled the net, pushing her team to a quick 9-3 lead. Wapsie Valley, which had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set, didn't have an answer as Beckman posted a 25-20, 25-16, 17-25, 23-25, 15-9 victory, earning the school's fourth state trip in the last five seasons.
No. 7 Beckman (33-11) will play in a Class 2A state quarterfinal next Tuesday in Cedar Rapids against a team to be determined. No. 8 Wapsie Valley closes its season at 25-12.
"I think we were all really locked in that last set," Schmitt said. "I came out super strong, got a few balls down and I think that got all of us going. We just wanted to win this one so bad."
The way the night started for the Trailblazers, it didn't look like a fifth set would be needed. Beckman gained control of the first set behind the strong serving of junior Jenna Lansing. That momentum carried on to the second as Beckman had the Warriors totally out of rhythm.
"In the first two sets we were very locked in and dominant," Schmitt said.
The next two sets were a different story.
Wapsie Valley tightened up its passing while Beckman's passing was out of sync. The Warriors bolted to a 20-7 lead in the third set before winning, then held off a late Blazer run to force a fifth game on a finishing kill from Lydia Imbrogno.
"We started out so well, but when we come down, we come down hard," Lansing said of Beckman's drop-off in sets 3 and 4. "When we do come back, we come back even harder because we want it so bad and we are pretty much unbeatable at that point."
Schmitt said she thought the team may have let up after going up 2-0.
"I feel like in the third and fourth set that we just let loose a little bit," she said. "In the fifth set we had a realization that we actually had to play our game, play good defense and get touches on every ball."
Lansing said the message from veteran Coach Todd Troutman entering the final set was a clear one.
"Pretty much he wanted us to come out together as a team from the beginning. He wanted us playing for each other and making sure we were playing together as a team."
Last year's rare miss of a state tournament was a motivator all year for Beckman.
"Not getting there last year was honestly a big motivation for all of us this year," Schmitt said. "We know (the state Class 2A field) is stacked. We're just going to come with confidence, be locked in and play our game."