116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Reach for the stars?
Sure, but first, the West Delaware Hawks had another target.
“Coach (Brett Mather) told our outside hitters to reach for the pin,” Alivia Schulte said.
The second-ranked Hawks slowed Macy Daufeldt just a bit and downed No. 4 West Liberty in four sets (21-25, 25-9, 25-20, 25-20) for the Class 3A state volleyball championship Friday afternoon at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
“A lot of emotions right now,” Hawks setter Carlee Smith said. “This was our redemption year for sure. We came back with loads of experience, and we got to get what we really wanted.”
Last year’s 4A state runners-up, the Hawks finished 43-5 and claimed their second title; the first came in 2015.
“We’ve given up a lot for this. Our practices are laborious and daunting,” Smith said. “We’re always working in the offseason. We never really get a break.
“But it’s worth it.”
Daufeldt helped carry West Liberty (39-5) to victories in the first two rounds, collecting 70 kills in those eight sets.
The Drake University recruit added 21 more Thursday, but they were hard-earned. She had 12 errors in 73 swings and finished with a modest .123 kill efficiency.
“(West Delaware) has a really good defense,” Daufeldt said. “They took away my favorite spot, down the line. I tried my hardest to find my shots, but they have a lot of hustle.”
How did the Hawks take away that line? A change in rotation. Six-foot-plus freshman Brooke Krogmann was assigned to shadow Daufeldt at the pin.
“I love Carlee to death, but (Daufeldt) was going to hit it over her,” West Delaware Coach Brett Mather said. “So we put our freshman up against the best outside hitter in the state, and she held her own.”
Krogmann had only one block, but got her hands on the ball several times and prevented Daufeldt from teeing off from her sweet spot.
West Liberty won the first set with a 6-1 closing run, then the rest of the match belonged to the Hawks.
Game 2 was a blitz, then the Hawks pulled away from a 19-18 advantage in Game 3 with a five-point run. Krogmann’s kill ended the set.
It was at a similar juncture from which West Delaware took command in the finale. With the score tied at 15, the Hawks crafted a five-point surge — two kills by Schulte and three Comets errors — to take the lead for good.
“We played too much defense against them and we made too many mental errors,” West Liberty Coach Ruben Galvan said. “When you play defense for a long time, five or six points in a row, it wears on you.”
Daufeldt was the 3A all-tournament captain, finishing the week with 91 kills in 12 sets. She closed a brilliant career with more than 1,800 kills.
“She’s crazy, crazy good,” Smith said. “You can tell she’s a modest, humble player, and I like that a lot about her.
“Starting Brooke over there against her, that was a true strategic decision and it worked to our advantage.”
Smith (45 assists) and Schulte (18 kills) represented West Delaware on the all-tournament team. West Liberty freshman Sophie Buysse also was honored, along with Ava Schubert and Brianna Gartner of Davenport Assumption and Emma Salker of Sergeant Bluff-Luton.