116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
NORTH LIBERTY — Who knows how things will turn out in November?
But on this late-September Saturday, Iowa City Liberty had the best volleyball team in the state.
Boosted by a midday victory over Dike-New Hartford, the Class 5A top-ranked Lightning went 5-0 in the Liberty/Mount Vernon Hy-Vee Classic volleyball tournament at Liberty High School.
“We knew it was going to be a long day, a stacked day,” Liberty co-coach Allie Kelly said. “The girls did a really nice job, all day.”
Liberty (22-3) has won 14 straight matches.
The highlight of the day, without question, came midway through the round-robin event, in which the Lightning convincingly snapped Dike-New Hartford’s 40-match win streak, 21-11, 21-16.
It reversed an earlier decision this season, in which the Bolts fell in a three-setter to DNH at Ankeny Centennial on Aug. 28.
“We knew it was going to be a big match,” Liberty libero Gabbie Schroeder said. “We were really loose, really excited.
“Our defense was definitely better this time around. We had high energy.”
Kelly said, “I think the girls felt they had something to prove. We really, really respect Dike-New Hartford, and it was a gut check to see how good we are.”
As it turned out, very good.
Liberty led throughout the first set, breaking it open with a six-point run for a 13-5 lead. Cassidy Hartman, the Lightning’s Elite all-stater from a year ago, dominated the net in the closing stages of the set.
Dike-New Hartford (34-1) rallied from a three-point deficit in Game 2 to take a 13-12 lead, and it was tied at 14-14 and 15-15 before a four-point run swung the set — and the match — Liberty’s way for good.
Sam Harvey had the go-ahead kill, Shelby Kimm struck from the back row, then Liberty took advantage of two DNH errors. Sydney Stratton’s block marked the final point.
Instead of resting and rejoicing, the Lightning had to come right back out and face 5A No. 2 Pleasant Valley. No letdown: Liberty prevailed, 21-17, 21-13.
“They were a tough team, too,” Liberty setter Mariah Rollins said. “The bench brought a lot of energy, and that got us going.”
Dike-New Hartford went 4-1 Saturday, Pleasant Valley 3-2.
Class 3A No. 8 Mount Vernon (17-8) won two of five matches, earning back-to-back victories over 5A No. 5 West Des Moines Valley and 5A No. 11 Iowa City West.
“It’s a tall order when you start with Dike-New Hartford and Pleasant Valley,” Mustangs Coach Maggie Willems said. “These teams here are good in every phase. That’s why we’re here.
“We’re better than when we walked in the doors here.”
Mount Vernon led Valley 10-4 in the third set, allowed the Tigers to tie it at 12-12, then prevailed at the end.
“We didn’t get rattled,” Willems said.
LIBERTY/MOUNT VERNON HY-VEE CLASSIC
At North Liberty
Teams -- 1. Iowa City Liberty 5-0, 2. Dike-New Hartford 4-1, 3. Pleasant Valley 3-2, 4. Mount Vernon 2-3, 5. West Des Moines Valley 1-4, 6. Iowa City West 0-5.
Dike-New Hartford def. Pleasant Valley, 21-16, 15-21, 15-10
Dike-New Hartford def. Mount Vernon, 21-10, 21-12
Dike-New Hartford def. Iowa City West, 21-9, 21-10
Dike-New Hartford def. West Des Moines Valley, 21-15, 21-17
Iowa City Liberty def. West Des Moines Valley, 22-20, 23-21
Iowa City Liberty def. Iowa City West, 21-5, 20-22, 15-12
Iowa City Liberty def. Dike-New Hartford, 21-11, 21-16
Iowa City Liberty def. Pleasant Valley, 21-17, 21-13
Iowa City Liberty def. Mount Vernon, 21-17, 21-16
Mount Vernon def. West Des Moines Valley, 21-23, 24-22, 15-13
Mount Vernon def. Iowa City West, 21-13, 21-10
Pleasant Valley def. Mount Vernon, 21-12, 21-12
Pleasant Valley def. West Des Moines Valley, 21-16, 21-13
Pleasant Valley def. Iowa City West, 21-16, 21-14
West Des Moines Valley def. Iowa City West, 21-19, 21-16