116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Karlee Luneckas wants to play college volleyball.
But, as a backup setter behind a Division-I commit (Mount Vernon’s Madeleine Miller, pledged to New Mexico), opportunities at the high school level had been scarce, and probably would have been this season, as well.
“I wasn’t getting much playing time, so I decided to come over here,” Luneckas said, in reference to her transfer to Lisbon. “I wanted to bring what I have to this team and make some great relationships.
“The girls were very welcoming to me.”
A 5-foot-11, multi-tool senior, Luneckas has found the court — and a lot of joy — with the Class 2A sixth-ranked Lions, who are off to their best start in school history at 28-2.
“Nobody plays with more happiness,” Coach Lance Kamaus said.
In Tuesday’s four-set win over Iowa City Regina, Luneckas posted six kills, 15 assists and two blocks.
Lisbon already had an incumbent at setter in Kali Nelson, also a senior. Kamaus elected to shift to a 6-2 offense — “a change that we didn’t make lightly,” he said. “We already had an all-state setter with 2,500 career assists.
“Kali is a super-good defender, and Karlee gives us a block on the outside.”
Nelson (6.98 assists per set) still gets the bulk of the setting, with Luneckas providing 3.8 assists, 1.13 kills and a kill efficiency of .307.
“We’ve never run a 6-2 before, so that’s definitely new,” senior Peyton Robinson said. “Karlee is always talking. She can serve, and she definitely block. She’s very coachable.”
North Cedar’s giant-killers
You won’t find North Cedar in the Class 1A state rankings (yet), but the Knights have been a major headache to the small-school elite.
First, they knocked off then-No. 1 North Tama in pool play at the Springville Invitational on Sept. 17.
A week later, after Springville climbed to No. 1, the Knights upset the Orioles in the championship match of the North Cedar Invitational at Clarence, snapping the Orioles’ 21-match win streak.
North Cedar is 18-7, with 13 wins in its last 16 matches. Senior Caitlin Jensen has nearly half of the Knights’ kills, averaging 3.64 per set.
Decisions, decisions ...
Wouldn’t you know it?
The two biggest matches of the regular season fall on the same night. Next Tuesday night.
First place in the MVC Mississippi Division is on the line at North Liberty, where Class 4A top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier (20-1, 4-0) faces 5A No. 2 Iowa City Liberty (18-7, 5-0).
Meanwhile, 3A No. 3 Mount Vernon (18-2, 3-0) and 4A No. 3 Marion (21-3, 3-0) will decide the Wamac Conference East Division championship at Mount Vernon.
Liberty and Mount Vernon are coming off impressive 2-1 showings at Mount Vernon’s four-team round robin, which also included 2A No. 1 Dike-New Hartford and 5A No. 1 Pleasant Valley.