116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — They set. They swing.
And Elise Mehaffy and Avery Van Hook have a few new tricks up their sleeves.
“(Coach Roxanne) Paulsen has this new tricky play,” Mehaffy said. “Avery has the option to attack on the second hit. That really helps us.”
Mehaffy and Van Hook have been Marion’s dual-threat duo for three years now. Mehaffy is a senior who will play at NCAA Division-II Missouri S&T next year; Van Hook is a junior who has committed to South Dakota, starting in 2023.
If you’re an owner to a Metro volleyball fantasy league team, you’d love to have either on your roster. Both can fill a stat sheet in kills and assists.
“Having Avery as a lefty, it’s definitely an advantage ... dumping, setting, swinging,” Mehaffy said.
Both were at full force as Class 4A fourth-ranked Marion needed only 85 minutes to roll through its two matches in Thursday’s quad at Marion High School.
The Wolves (5-0) earned straight-set wins over Williamsburg (25-18, 25-12) and Linn-Mar (25-7, 25-11).
Van Hook entered Thursday averaging 3.9 kills and 3.9 assists per set, sporting a .408 kill efficiency. Mehaffy posts 1.9 kills and 5.7 assists per set.
“We’re running a regular 6-2 now. It’s a little different, but we’ve adjusted,” Van Hook said. “Everybody has stepped up. We don’t have that one big hitter. We need to play together.”
The Wamac Conference East Division figures to be a four-team free-for-all — again — among the Wolves, West Delaware, Dyersville Beckman and Mount Vernon.
“There could, and probably should, be four teams in our division that make it to the state tournament,” Paulsen said. “We really want to push the envelope this year, and I think we can do it.”
Mehaffy said, “I think we can go really far. We’re doing a lot of mental-toughness stuff.”
That includes inward self-communication.
“We write in a journal every day, write down our thoughts,” Van Hook said. “Paulsen has really taught us how to turn negatives into positives.”
West Delaware (9-1 and ranked No. 2 in 3A) also won convincingly twice. The Hawks topped Linn-Mar (25-18, 25-10) and Williamsburg (25-11, 25-15).
“I really like our minds right now,” Hawks Coach Brett Mather said. “We’re fine-tuning some things, speeding up the game even more. Our serve receive is getting more consistent, and that’s the game right there.”
PREP VOLLEYBALL: MARION QUAD
Marion def. Williamsburg, 25-18, 25-12
West Delaware def. Linn-Mar, 25-18, 25-10
Marion def. Linn-Mar, 25-7, 25-11
West Delaware def. Williamsburg, 25-11, 25-15