116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There may be a time during warmups Wednesday in which the Lisbon Lions are looking into the stands. Or the hallway. Or anywhere else but the court.
“(Sumner-Fredericksburg’s) Isabelle Elliott is a really, really good player,” Lisbon Coach Lance Kamaus said. “We might not let the players watch her hit during warmups.”
A 6-foot-1 junior, Elliott not only leads Class 2A in kills, at 6.17 per set. She leads the entire state.
And that’s what the Lions have to contend with as they try — again — to break through to the state volleyball tournament. No. 6 Lisbon (38-2) faces No. 8 Sumner-Fredericksburg (30-10) in a 2A regional final Wednesday at Center Point.
“There’s going to be some times in the match in which (Elliott) hits a shot, and the key is going to be how we respond to that,” Kamaus said. “Can we shrug it off right away, or will it carry over into the next two or three points?
“We’ve got a very focused group of kids. They’ve been in a lot of tough situations before, in a lot of different sports.”
The Lisbon/Sumner-Fredericksburg encounter is one of five Wednesday involving area teams. Also in 2A, Dyersville Beckman (28-10) faces No. 3 Wapsie Valley (40-4) at Manchester.
In Class 1A, top-rated Springville (36-3) — last year’s state runner-up — meets No. 12 New London (28-9) at West Liberty, No. 2 North Tama (38-4) battles Southeast Warren (31-14) at Newton and No. 10 North Cedar (27-9) tangles with No. 8 Don Bosco (27-12) at Vinton.
Winners advance to the state tournament next week at Xtream Arena in Coralville.
Lisbon still is seeking its first trip to state. This is their Lions’ fifth regional final, their first in 2A.
“Like I told the kids, wouldn’t it be crazy if it happened in a year in which a lot of people didn’t expect it?” Kamaus said.
Springville, on the other hand, has its eye on an eighth state appearance in the past decade.
“New London is shorter than we are, and I think we’ll have an advantage at the net,” said Springville senior setter Nia Howard, who crossed the 3,000-career-assist plateau in Monday’s sweep of Central City.
Her father and coach, Claude Howard called New London “scrappy defensively. They have a couple of outsides that place the ball well.”
The Orioles had six players between five and 10 kills Monday.
“That’s what we live on,” Coach Howard said. “We try to put kids in position to score points.”
Beckman is going after its fifth state voyage in six years. North Tama will try to make it four trips in six years. North Cedar looks to end a 25-year state drought.
Wednesday’s area Class 2A regional finals
(All matches 7 p.m.)
No. 3 WAPSIE VALLEY (40-4) vs. DYERSVILLE BECKMAN (28-10)
After ending an 11-year state-tournament drought in 2017, Beckman has qualified four times in the last five years. The Blazers took a big step forward with a road sweep of Wilton in the regional semifinals, their eighth consecutive victory. Senior Jenna Lansing had 13 kills, sophomore Alexie Hogan 24 digs. The champion of the North Iowa Cedar League East Division, Wapsie Valley swept Iowa City Regina in the regional semifinals. The Warriors are back up a class after qualifying in 1A in 2019 and 2020. Senior Hannah Knight leads Wapsie’s attack at 3.50 kills per set.
No. 6 LISBON (38-2) vs. No. 8 SUMNER-FREDERICKSBURG (30-10)
At Center Point
Lisbon takes another shot at history. The Lions are 0-4 all-time in regional finals (dropping a 1A heartbreaker to North Tama last year), and this is anything but a cakewalk. Six-foot-1 junior Isabelle Elliott is the most prolific attacker in the state (all classes) at 6.17 kills per set, and is No. 3 in 2A with a lofty kill efficiency of .472. Lisbon carries an 18-game winning streak, which includes a Tri-Rivers Conference tournament championship. The Lions handled Hudson in straight sets in the regional semifinals. Senior Peyton Robinson and junior Ava Czarnecki both average more than 3 kills per set, and both hit over .300.
Wednesday’s area Class 1A regional finals
(All matches 7 p.m.)
No. 1 SPRINGVILLE (36-3) vs. No. 12 NEW LONDON (28-9)
At West Liberty
Springville eyes its eighth state tournament in 10 years. The Orioles have five starters back from last year’s runner-up team, led by all-state senior setter Nia Howard, who went over 3,000 career assists in a regional-semifinal sweep of Central City. Six different attackers compiled five kills or more in that match, led by 10 from senior Kennady Breitfelder. Neither team has dropped a set in the postseason, and New London was impressive in a regional-semifinal rout of Belle Plaine, its 11th consecutive win. Senior Natalie Burden is third among 1A attackers at 4.29 kills per set, but the Orioles have an advantage in size and balance.
No. 2 NORTH TAMA (38-4) vs. SOUTHEAST WARREN (31-14)
Five starters are back from North Tama’s state-semifinal squad from 2021, and the Redhawks are heavy favorites to make it four state appearances since 2017. They do have a challenge in slowing Southeast Warren senior Alivia Ruble, the leading hitter in Class 1A at 4.99 kills per set. Ruble has taken 1,176 swings this season. North Tama has won 17 straight matches. All of the Redhawks’ top hitters — Shae Ewoldt, Breanna Sebetka, Lainey Willenbring and setter Jadyn Rausch have more than 200 each — are seniors. Sophomore Kylie Calderwood is second in 1A in serving accuracy (.965).
No. 10 NORTH CEDAR (27-9) vs. No. 8 DON BOSCO (27-12)
North Cedar was a state qualifier in its first three years of existence (1995-97), and this is an opportunity for the Knights to end a 25-year tournament drought. They nearly stubbed their toe in the regional semifinals, but rallied from a 2-1 deficit to outlast Edgewood-Colesburg in a five-set thriller (rolling in Game 5, 15-4) behind a 36-kill explosion from senior Caitlin Jensen. Don Bosco was a co-champion of the Iowa Star Conference North Division (with Tripoli) and has swept its way through the postseason thus far. Three Dons have more than 200 kills this season — juniors Alexis Even and Emily Naughton and sophomore Kennedi McGarvey.