116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The first 24 bids to the 2021 Iowa high school state volleyball tournament were handed out Tuesday night as Class 5A, 4A and 3A teams competed in regional finals around the state.
Winners advance to state at Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids from Nov. 1-4.
Find the latest information throughout the night here, including schedules, scores and live updates.
State volleyball brackets
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released the 5A, 4A and 3A state tournament brackets Tuesday night.
Marion sizzles early, sweeps Benton
It took a while to get all of the postmatch banner combinations completed.
Players with banner. Players and parents with banner. Players and friends with banner.
Setting the tone, on the other hand, that didn’t take long at all.
Fifth-ranked Marion sizzled out of the gate and swept No. 14 Benton Community, 25-14, 25-20, 25-12, in a Class 4A volleyball regional final Tuesday night at Marion High School.
“We came in confident, and that’s probably the strongest we’ve played all year,” said junior Peyton Johnson, who matched Avery Van Hook for the Wolves’ lead in kills, with 10.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s successful season comes to an end
Cedar Rapids Kennedy has produced a memorable volleyball season.
The Cougars shared the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division title. They also won 24 matches this season, an improvement from last season and the program’s most since 2016.
One match doesn’t define Kennedy’s success this season, even if it ends one victory short of the state tournament.
Tenth-ranked Johnston avenged a loss to the No. 9 Cougars and earned its first state berth in six years with a hard-fought 25-23, 27-25, 22-25, 25-19 Class 5A regional final victory Tuesday night at Kennedy.
“We’ve told them from the beginning that the goals they laid out for themselves and the goals we’ve laid out for them, they’ve achieved those,” Kennedy Coach Robin Fonck said. “This is one match, but everything they have went up against and every obstacle this season, they have fought hard against every single one.
“We have told them time and time again that we are proud of them. They are fighters. It just didn’t turn our way tonight.”
No. 1 Iowa City Liberty celebrates another state volleyball appearance
No matter how high the expectations, a trip to the state tournament is always cause for celebration.
Class 5A No. 1 Liberty stormed the court, jumping up and down in a frenzied circle, and joined the student section after breezing through the Region 6 final, sweeping Muscatine, 25-10, 25-6, 25-11, on Tuesday night at Liberty High School.
“That green banner is special,” Liberty co-head coach Allie Kelly said. “It’s something that we always really, really appreciate. So it’s one big milestone, and now we have that next one to chase.”
“It feels good,” Liberty outside hitter Cassidy Hartman said. “Each step of the way. We’re one step closer.”
One step closer to the ultimate goal of winning a state title. The Lightning will be looking to go one step further following a runner-up showing in 2020. They will bring a formidable lineup to Cedar Rapids. Three seniors feature as starters, but much of the heavy hitting comes from a pair of juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. It’s a group that hasn’t lost a set since Sept. 30, sweeping 11 straight matches.
Cedar Rapids Xavier earns sixth-straight state volleyball appearance
Make it six-for-six for Austin Filer.
Fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier is headed back to the state volleyball tournament for the sixth consecutive season after defeating Norwalk, 25-13, 25-16, 25-12 in a Class 4A regional final Tuesday evening at home.
For Filer, who took over as Xavier head coach in 2016, this marks his sixth state tournament appearance in as many years.
“It’s really important,” Filer said. “I think it shows we have a system that works and coaches and kids that are really committed to the process and willing to give their all.”
West Delaware takes next step toward state volleyball goal
West Delaware junior Alivia Schulte doesn’t talk much about the ultimate goal.
She doesn’t have to.
Schulte and her talented teammates are well aware of what’s at stake.
The second-ranked Hawks took another step toward their lofty goal after sweeping Vinton-Shellsburg, 25-14, 25-9, 25-8, in a Class 3A regional volleyball final.
The Hawks certainly looked like a state-title contender Tuesday night at Cedar Falls High School.
“It’s a great feeling to be going back to state — it’s very exciting,” Schulte said. “We’ve worked really hard and stayed focused on each match. We just need to keep pushing and keep progressing.”
Tuesday’s Iowa high school volleyball regional final scores
West Des Moines Dowling 3, Sioux City East 0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-19)
Urbandale 3, Council Bluffs Lincoln 0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-16)
Ankeny Centennial 3, Cedar Rapids Prairie 0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-17)
Ankeny 3, Iowa City High 0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-9)
Johnston 3, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 1 (25-23, 27-25, 22-25, 25-19)
Iowa City Liberty 3, Muscatine 0 (25-10, 25-6, 25-11)
Pleasant Valley 3, Iowa City West 1 (25-12, 25-20, 26-28, 25-17)
Cedar Falls 3, Dubuque Senior 0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-18)
Sioux City Heelan 3, Lewis Central 1 (13-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-19)
Bondurant-Farrar 3, North Polk 1 (25-14, 25-13, 21-25, 25-16)
Oskaloosa 3, Pella 0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-16)
Cedar Rapids Xavier 3, Norwalk 0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-12)
Marion 3, Benton Community 0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-12)
Waverly-Shell Rock 3, Humboldt 0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-16)
Western Dubuque 3, Decorah 0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-19)
North Scott 3, DeWitt Central 0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-10)
Sergeant Bluff-Luton 3, Sioux Center 1 (15-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21)
Sheldon 3, Forest City 1 (25-12, 20-25, 25-15, 25-16)
Unity Christian 3, Clarion CGD 0 (25-15, 25-10, 25-11)
Des Moines Christian 3, Nevada 0 (25-21, 25-7, 25-11)
Mount Vernon 3, Eddyville EBF 1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23)
West Liberty 3, West Burlington 0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-18)
Davenport Assumption 3, Independence 0 (25-17, 25-6, 25-20)
West Delaware 3, Vinton-Shellsburg 0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-8)
Follow Gazette reporters for live updates
The Gazette is covering five matches live Tuesday night. Here is who you can follow on Twitter for live updates.
Benton Community at Marion » @jtlinder
Johnston at Cedar Rapids Kennedy » @kjpilcher
Norwalk at Cedar Rapids Xavier » @ryno_plegge
Muscatine at Iowa City Liberty » @culleykline19
West Delaware vs. Vinton-Shellsburg » @craigsesker
Tuesday’s Iowa high school volleyball regional finals schedule
No. 12 Sioux City East (28-10) at No. 5 West Des Moines Dowling (26-12), 7 p.m.
Council Bluffs Lincoln (17-24) at No. 6 Urbandale (32-8), 7 p.m.
No. 11 Cedar Rapids Prairie (22-13) at No. 7 Ankeny Centennial (29-9), 7 p.m.
No. 13 Iowa City High (20-14) at No. 3 Ankeny (38-5), 7 p.m.
No. 10 Johnston (26-11) at No. 9 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (24-10), 7 p.m.
Muscatine (15-17) at No. 1 Iowa City Liberty (33-4), 7 p.m.
No. 14 Iowa City West (16-16) at No. 2 Pleasant Valley (29-4), 7 p.m.
Dubuque Senior (21-16) at No. 4 Cedar Falls (29-8), 8 p.m.
Sioux City Heelan (19-16) at Lewis Central (19-15), 7 p.m.
No. 9 North Polk (26-10) at No. 8 Bondurant-Farrar (31-7), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Pella (29-9) at No. 6 Oskaloosa (30-4), 7 p.m.
Norwalk (23-17) at No. 4 Cedar Rapids Xavier (28-4), 7 p.m.
No. 14 Benton Community (25-14) at No. 5 Marion (35-8), 7 p.m.
No. 15 Humboldt (29-6) at No. 3 Waverly-Shell Rock (41-7), 7 p.m.
No. 12 Decorah (28-6) at No. 1 Western Dubuque (30-3), 7 p.m.
DeWitt Central (17-12) at No. 2 North Scott (29-4), 7 p.m.
No. 6 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (29-6) vs. No. 9 Sioux Center (25-8), 7 p.m. at Le Mars
No. 3 Sheldon (26-5) vs. Forest City (19-12), 7 p.m. at Estherville
No. 7 Unity Christian (27-4) vs. Clarion CGD (19-15), 7 p.m. at Storm Lake
No. 8 Des Moines Christian (35-6) vs. Nevada (21-21), 7 p.m. at Grimes
No. 5 Mount Vernon (33-12) vs. No. 11 Eddyville EBF (33-12), 7 p.m. at Williamsburg
No. 4 West Liberty (36-4) vs. No. 10 West Burlington (30-3), 7 p.m. at Mediapolis
No. 15 Independence (29-12) vs. No. 1 Davenport Assumption (33-4), 7 p.m. at Cedar Rapids Washington
No. 2 West Delaware (39-5) vs. Vinton-Shellsburg (19-17), 6 p.m. at Cedar Falls
Previewing Tuesday’s Gazette area regional volleyball finals
By Jeff Linder, The Gazette
No. 11 Cedar Rapids Prairie (22-13) at No. 7 Ankeny Centennial (29-9)
Centennial has been a state power from the start of its existence, reaching the state tournament seven times in eight years, a run that has included four titles, most recently in 2018. The Jaguars were quarterfinalists last year and returned six starters, led by Monica Mirembe (2.30 kills per set, .356 kill efficiency) and Morgan Den Beste (7.3 assists per set). Prairie is seeking its first state bid since 2008. The Hawks outlasted Waukee Northwest in a five-set regional semifinal, prevailing 15-13 in the fifth. Maggie Lueck (4.54 digs per set) is one of the top back-row players in the Metro, and — though just 5-foot-8 — Jacey Miller paces the attack at 2.60 kills per set.
No. 13 Iowa City High (20-14) at No. 3 Ankeny (38-5)
City High pursues its first state-tournament berth since 2014, but has to travel to Central Iowa to face the defending state champion. Five starters return from Ankeny’s title team, led by senior outside hitter Ava Reynolds (3.92 kills per set. 350 kill efficiency). Hawkettes Coach Dave Whims has been at it 37 years and has won 1,077 matches and five state championships. That includes a 21-18, 21-14 victory over City High at the Bettendorf Invitational on Oct. 9. The Little Hawks had dropped three of four matches heading into the postseason, but rebounded with a four-set win over Southeast Polk. Sophomore Claire Enrst (3.60 kills per set, .260 efficiency) paces City’s attack.
No. 10 Johnston (26-11) at No. 9 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (24-10)
Co-champion of the MVC Valley Division, Kennedy is in the midst of its winningest season since 2016, and the now the Cougars want to extend it to the state tournament for the first time since 2015. The Cougars swept Marshalltown in the regional semifinals, but are a little banged up, and Johnston will present a stiff challenge. Junior setter Mara Fluent runs the show for the Cougars, posting 7.83 assists per set. Top targets include Molly Joyner (3.26 kills per set), and Megan Feldmann (2.05). Like Kennedy, Johnston is six years removed from its last state tournament and is coming off a straight-set win (over Ames). And like the Cougars, the Dragons are balanced. Dasha Svitashev leads at 2.81 kills per set.
Muscatine (15-17) at No. 1 Iowa City Liberty (33-4)
The 2020 big-school state runner-up, heavily favored Liberty brings a head of steam into the match. The Lightning have won 10 straight matches (all sweeps), 25 of their last 26. And this is still a fairly young squad. Recent UNI commit, junior Cassidy Hartman was an Elite all-state pick last year and averages 4.15 kills and 4.13 digs per set, and junior Shelby Kimm adds 2.75 per set. Sophomore Mariah Rollins and freshman Asta Hildebrand share setting duties. The Lightning were MVC Mississippi Division champions and swept their way through the championship bracket of the MVC tournament championship bracket. Muscatine defeated Cedar Rapids Jefferson in a four-set regional semifinal.
No. 14 Iowa City West (16-16) at No. 2 Pleasant Valley (29-4)
This isn’t necessarily the mismatch that it appears at first glance. West handed Pleasant Valley one of its four losses, at the MVC-MAC Challenge on Aug. 26, a loss the Spartans avenged Sept. 25 at Iowa City Liberty. Pleasant Valley is the champion of the Mississippi Athletic Conference, while West earned a share of the MVC Valley Division title. West opened its postseason with a straight-set win over Bettendorf and it led by sophomore Melae Lacy (2.87 kills per set) in the front row and Katherine Kouba (4.77 digs per set) in the back. Evansville recruit Kora Ruff has accumulated more than 3,000 assists in a standout career as Pleasant Valley’s setter. The Spartans were 5A state semifinalists last year.
Norwalk (23-17) at No. 4 Cedar Rapids Xavier (28-4)
Reigning 4A state champion Xavier is heavily favored to get downtown for the sixth straight year. The Saints were co-champions of the MVC Valley Division, runners-up of the MVC tournament champion bracket. Xavier has reloaded nicely after graduation took a toll, and is reliant on middles Maya Karl (3.36 kills per set, .408 efficiency) and Anika Ivester (.387). Norwalk pulled a moderate surprise in the regional semifinals, winning at Winterset in four sets, its sixth win in the last seven matches. Abigail Brenizer averages 3.37 kills per set for the Warriors, who are seeking their first state-tournament berth in school history.
No. 14 Benton Community (25-14) at No. 5 Marion (35-8)
It’s been another memorable season for Marion, which set the tone early with a 10-0 start and earned a share of the title in the rugged Wamac Conference East Division. The Wolves have a pair of versatile setter/hitters in junior Avery Van Hook and senior Elise Mehaffy, who have combined for nearly 1,000 assists this season and average 4.39 kills per set between them. Not only is Benton chasing its first state berth in school history, but Coach Mike Embretson believes this is the Bobcats’ first regional final ever. The Bobcats opened some eyes with a road sweep of No. 11 Clear Creek Amana in the regional semifinals and are led offensively by Alyssa Tegeler (3.82 kills per set, .311 efficiency), who had spent the first three years of her high school career at Belle Plaine.
No. 12 Decorah (28-6) at No. 1 Western Dubuque (30-3)
Western Dubuque enters with a 23-match winning streak, and the veteran Bobcats have their eyes on a big finish. Madison Maahs went over the 2,000-assist plateau early in the season, and pilots a crew that is hitting .319 as a team. Meredith Bahl (4.42 kills per set, .348 kill efficiency) and Maddie Harris (3.58, .268) take the majority of the swings for the Bobcats, who were 4A state runners-up in 2019 and semifinalists in 2020. Decorah was the Northeast Iowa Conference runner-up (to Waverly-Shell Rock) and has a major hitting threat in junior Amelia Dugger (2.97 kills per set, .396 efficiency). The Vikings are chasing their first state appearance.
No. 5 Mount Vernon (33-12) vs. No. 11 Eddyville EBF (33-12), at Williamsburg
A victory Tuesday would send Mount Vernon to the state tournament for the 13th time in the last 15 years. The Mustangs are in the midst of their best stretch of the season; they have won seven straight matches that includes a Wamac Conference tournament title. Three freshmen play a key role, including Chloe Meester, who leads the team in kills (3.58 per set) and owns a .312 efficiency. Junior Madeleine Miller has taken over the setter role and run with it; she distributes 9.20 assists per set and is third on the team in kills. EBF won its first 12 matches of the season and captured the South Central Conference championship. Like Meester, the Rockets’ Molly Shafer is a dynamite freshman. Her 5.82 kills per set rank second in the state in all classes, and she hits .399.
No. 4 West Liberty (36-4) vs. No. 10 West Burlington (30-3), at Mediapolis
Sometime within the next two weeks, the final chapter will be written on the brilliant volleyball career of Macy Daufeldt. The Drake University recruit is third in the state in kills per set (5.79) and owns a .485 kill efficiency. Junior setter Brooklyn Buysse averages 9.43 assists per set; junior libero Monica Morales 6.20 digs per set. The Comets’ four losses all have come against elite competition (Wilton twice, Western Dubuque and Dike-New Hartford). West Burlington is seeking its first state trip. The Falcons had to go four sets with Central Lee in the first round, then swept Davis County in the semifinals. Junior Sophia Armstrong posts 4.37 kills with a .434 efficiency.
No. 15 Independence (29-12) vs. No. 1 Davenport Assumption (33-4), at Cedar Rapids Washington
Independence will try to disrupt an Assumption outfit that has won 22 of its last 23 matches and finished second in the 5A-dominant Mississippi Athletic Conference. The Knights are favored to advance to state for the fourth straight year; they were 3A semifinalists in 2020 and welcome back 6-foot-1 junior Ava Schubert (4.24 kills per set). Independence made back-to-back state trips in 2017 and 2018. Both of the Mustangs’ regional wins — against Center Point-Urbana and Monticello — came in four sets. Alexis Hearn is a strong six-rotation player who averages 3.15 kills and 3.43 digs per set. Elle Greiner posts 9.64 assists per set.
No. 2 West Delaware (39-5) vs. Vinton-Shellsburg (19-17), at Cedar Falls
Last year’s Class 4A state runner-up, West Delaware is down a class and has championship aspirations. The Hawks are after their fourth consecutive state berth. This is the fourth meeting this season between the Wamac Conference cross-divisional rivals, and the Hawks won the first three, all by 2-0 verdicts. Junior Alivia Schulte is a jumping jack at outside hitter, averaging 3.49 kills per set, Carlee Smith has surpassed 1,000 assists this season and Ella Koloc (4.38 digs per set) is a back-row whiz. Coach Brett Mather went over the 900-win plateau earlier this fall. Vinton-Shellsburg has two impressive postseason wins, over Union in four sets and New Hampton in three. Brynn Patterson leads the team at 2.37 kills per set. An upset would send V-S to state for the first time since 1999.