116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There’s basketball, which wins 20-plus games per season like clockwork and advances to the state tournament regularly.
Track and cross country have been strong sports seemingly forever.
Softball has come on lately, with two state championships in the last three years.
But for whatever reason, volleyball has lagged as a girls sport at North Linn.
“It just hasn’t been a tradition-rich sport here,” Lynx Coach Jennifer McNeill said. “When I came here, I learned cross country was huge in the fall.”
“We can be good in both,” she said.
Trailing 14-11 in the fifth set Tuesday, North Linn stormed back to win at Edgewood-Colesburg, 25-22, 13-25, 25-27, 25-19, 19-17, in a Tri-Rivers Conference West Division thriller.
“We were down 14-11, and I said, ‘OK, ladies, if we’re going to win this match, how are we going to do it?’” McNeill said. “They said, ‘Defense.’
“We got some blocks, and we were able to come back and get it done.”
The Lynx (16-4, 2-0 Tri-Rivers West) have won 11 straight matches, claiming tournament titles at Jesup (Sept. 11) and Nashua (last Saturday).
North Linn’s record for wins in a season is 17, set in 1989.
Senior Chloe Van Etten is the primary net threat, averaging 3.49 kills per set and posting a .343 kill efficiency.
“She’s definitely our leader,” McNeill said. “She has played some club ball, and she’s a four-year starter.”
Jill Smith dishes out 6.31 assists per set.
McNeill was a multisport athlete at Vinton-Shellsburg, from which she graduated in 2000. Her senior year, the Vikettes made their first and only state-volleyball trip.
She is in her ninth season at North Linn.
“It’s been a process,” she said. “It didn’t happen overnight.”
The Lynx are one of three teams at 2-0 in the Tri-Rivers West. They’ll play the other two next week, at Starmont on Tuesday and at Springville on Thursday.
West Liberty: The area’s last unbeaten
Four unbeatens remain in the state, and West Liberty (17-0) is the last unblemished squad in the area.
The Comets swept a strong West Branch squad, 25-17, 25-15, 25-22, in a River Valley Conference South Division showdown at home Tuesday, moving their divisional mark to 3-0. They are 38-0 in sets.
A Drake University recruit and the state leader in kills per set (5.9) and kill efficiency (by a wide margin, at .569), senior Macy Daufeldt collected 16 kills Tuesday. Brooklyn Buysse distributed 32 assists, and Monica Morales provided 18 digs.
All eyes now turn to next Thursday’s divisional showdown at home against Wilton (20-1, 3-0).
Saturday’s Hy-Vee Classic field is loaded
Iowa City Liberty will host a stacked six-team round-robin tournament — named the Liberty-Mount Vernon Hy-Vee Classic — on Saturday.
Last year’s Class 5A state runner-up, Liberty (17-3) is one of two top-ranked teams in the field. The other is 2A No. 1 Dike-New Hartford (28-0), which carries a 35-match winning streak and is widely considered the state’s best team in any class.
The Wolverines have dropped just two of 61 sets this season against elite competition, one each against West Delaware and Liberty.
Class 5A No. 3 Pleasant Valley (17-1), 5A No. 5 West Des Moines Valley (16-5), 5A No. 12 Iowa City West (10-6) and 3A No. 8 Mount Vernon (15-5) complete the field.
Mount Vernon was the 3A runner-up last year after winning the title in 2019.
Competition begins at 9 a.m.