116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WEST LIBERTY — The calendar reads 2022, but for the West Liberty High School volleyball team, it’s Year 1, AD.
As in, “After Daufeldt.”
Last year’s co-state player of the year, Macy Daufeldt has graduated and moved on to Drake University. For the team she left behind, life goes on.
And it’s going quite well.
The Class 3A state runner-up last year, West Liberty has retooled under two remaining all-staters — seniors Monica Morales (libero) and Brooklyn Buysse (setter). The Comets are 16-4 and ranked No. 4 in 3A.
“We knew we had to grow around those two,” Coach Ruben Galvan said Tuesday, between matches of a triangular with Anamosa and Cedar Rapids Xavier. “Talk about experience ... those two have it.
“We’re a more balanced team. When you have a player like Macy, you’re going to go to her. That gave us time for everybody else to grow up last year.”
Morales leads the state in digs (7.24 per set), and Buysse is setting at an 8.87-assist-per-set clip.
The offensive crew is young, with sophomore Sophie Buysse (3.13 kills per set, .256 efficiency), junior Maelyn Wainwright (2.49, .200) and soph Ava Morrison (2.04, .320) the top weapons.
“No matter who I set, somebody is going to put it down,” the elder Buysse said. “We’re gaining confidence and playing our hardest.”
Galvan said, “The girls know now that when we need a point, we could go to anybody. That gives them confidence and they’re able to believe in themselves.”
The Comets have forged a new identity.
“We’re gritty and determined,” Morales said. “We have focus every point. Our back row is very strong. We’re always going to get that ball up.”
MVC races are taking shape
Western Dubuque claimed sole possession of first place in the MVC Valley Division on Tuesday, outlasting Cedar Rapids Kennedy in five sets.
The Bobcats (10-2 overall, 4-0 division) have beaten both of their closest challengers — Kennedy (7-8, 3-1) and Linn-Mar (8-7, 3-1).
In the Valley Division, Cedar Rapids Xavier (14-1, 3-0) and Iowa City Liberty (14-6, 3-0) appear headed for a winner-take-all showdown in their division finale Oct. 4 at North Liberty.
Battle(s) for No. 1
Saturday is another relatively full tournament day, with events at Springville, Van Horne, Lisbon and Manchester, among other sites.
If form holds, the final at Van Horne could be a combination of Class 4A No. 1 Xavier, No. 2 Marion (16-1) and No. 3 North Scott (14-2).
Xavier handed Marion its only loss thus far, in the semifinals at Cedar Rapids Washington on Sept. 3. North Scott topped the Saints at its home tournament last week.
Meanwhile, 1A No. 1 North Tama (12-1) and No. 2 Springville (12-1) are the likely finalists at the Orioles’ tournament. No. 6 Burlington Notre Dame (16-7), the two-time defending 1A state champion, also is in attendance.
At Lisbon, the host Lions (14-1) — ranked sixth in 2A — will be challenged in a nine-team field by 2A No. 4 West Burlington (15-2) and 2A No. 8 Wapsie Valley (19-2).