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Gabby Deery returns to the court; Notre Dame returns to 1A state volleyball final
Nikes win 3 close sets over Holy Trinity, will face Springville for the small-school title Thursday
CEDAR RAPIDS — Where was Gabby Deery?
“All I knew is that she wasn’t on the bench,” Abby Korschgen said. “I didn’t know if they took her to the hospital. I didn’t know if she was in the locker room.”
Before long, she was back on the court. And because of that, Burlington Notre Dame is back in the finals.
Deery smoked 23 kills to lead the top-ranked Nikes past archrival Fort Madison Holy Trinity, 26-24, 26-24, 27-25, in a Class 1A semifinal at the state volleyball tournament Wednesday night at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
“Definitely a team effort,” Deery said. “Everybody took care of what they had to do. We pulled together and pulled it off.”
A junior and Notre Dame’s top threat at the net, Deery landed on her chin while diving for a ball early in the first set.
“All I saw was the blood on my hand,” she said.
Where was Gabby Deery? Just getting the bleeding stopped and a Band-Aid applied to the chin.
The defending 1A champion, Notre Dame (37-8) led 11-9 when Deery exited, trailed 17-14 when she returned.
The Nikes faced a late deficit in all three sets — 23-22 in the first, 24-23 in the second, 24-21 in the third — and got the job done each time.
Notre Dame will face No. 3 Springville (35-4) — a straight-set winner over North Tama — for the championship at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“One match at a time,” Deery said. “We were worried about Holy Trinity. Now we can focus on Springville.”
Wednesday’s triumph was the Nikes’ third this season over the fifth-ranked Crusaders, who closed at 33-11.
“We beat them a couple of times earlier this season, and we knew today would be different,” Korschgen said. “We knew they would play as hard as they could.
“But we also knew what they would do, what they might try.”
Josie Bentz added 13 kills for the Nikes, and Jenna Bentz recorded 45 assists.
Mary Kate Bendlage paced Holy Trinity with 10 kills.