116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Cassidy Hartman insists there’s another gear out there somewhere that the Liberty Lightning can reach.
“I still think we have more to give,” she said. “I think we can still do better. We can keep in system more often and mix it up more.”
Scary, scary thoughts.
Class 5A top-ranked Iowa City Liberty steamrolled through the championship pool of the Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball tournament Tuesday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.
The Lightning (32-4) handled three excellent opponents in succession.
Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Xavier. Bing, bang, boom.
You know the Bolts can hammer you with their potent, balanced attack, led by Hartman, a returning Elite all-state player.
But the more you watch them, the more you appreciate the way they cover the floor on defense.
“Most of our practice involves defense,” Sam Harvey said. “The first part of a volleyball point is the pass. That starts the whole play.
“Like our coaches say: It hurts more when the ball hits the floor than when you do.”
Liberty can score when it is in system, and it can scramble for points, transitioning a tough dig into a kill. And that’s a difficult thing to achieve.
“We can move the ball around, and show that all of us can hit,” said Harvey, who certainly fits that description.
Liberty and Xavier (27-4) both won their first two matches, setting up a winner-take-all battle in the finale. The Lightning took it, 25-13, 25-8.
Hartman had 11 kills, seven in the first set. And the Lightning were never in any sort of trouble.
They scored seven consecutive points in the first set for a quick 8-2 advantage. Xavier got within 16-12, then Liberty brushed off the challenge with a 9-1 run to close the set.
In the second set, Liberty sprinted to a 10-2 lead and pulled steadily away.
Harvey added nine kills in the final match.
Liberty opened with a 26-24, 25-17 sweep of Cedar Falls, then handled Kennedy, 25-12, 25-16.
The Saints also swept their first two matches.
Cedar Falls (28-8) outlasted Kennedy (23-10), 18-25, 25-16, 15-2, to finish 1-2 in the pool. The Cougars were 0-3.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP POOL
At C.R. Xavier
Teams — 1. Iowa City Liberty 3-0, 2. C.R. Xavier 2-1, 3. Cedar Falls1-2, 4. C.R. Kennedy 0-3.
C.R. Xavier def. C.R. Kennedy, 25-20, 25-22
Iowa City Liberty def. Cedar Falls, 26-24, 25-17
Iowa City Liberty def. C.R. Kennedy, 25-12, 25-16
C.R. Xavier def. Cedar Falls, 25-19, 30-28
Iowa City Liberty def. C.R. Xavier, 25-13, 25-8
Cedar Falls def. C.R. Kennedy, 18-25, 25-16, 15-2