116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Yes, the match was three of five sets.
Much was determined in the first one.
Sixth-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton emerged from a marathon opener and went on to sweep No. 3 Sheldon, 31-29, 25-15, 25-23, in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday afternoon at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
“(The first set) was huge,” SBL Coach Renee Winkel said. “Sometimes (the players) and I don’t agree on how to play. They like to make it dramatic.
“The closer the score, the more pumped they get.”
So the Warriors (31-6) were plenty pumped in the opener. They got down 5-0 and 11-4, then started to edge their way back.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton took its first lead at 20-19, then held a 23-20 advantage before Sheldon (27-6) countered.
The Warriors had four set points, the Orabs three. Finally, Sergeant Bluff-Luton strung together three straight points — on kills by Payton Hardy, Addy Mosier and Alexa Trover — to claim the set.
» Photo gallery: Sergeant Bluff-Luton vs. Sheldon in state volleyball tournament
An early 11-3 surge put SBL in command of Game 2, then it had to play the comeback game in the finale.
Down 21-20, it scored four straight points — two on kills from Isabelle Lenz — and won it on a Sheldon attack error.
The teams split their two regular-season matches.
“We didn’t want to split this one,” setter Maddie Hinkel said. “I think the first set was a big confidence-booster.”
Said Emma Salker, who led SBL with 16 kills: “We really wanted to come out strong. Once we won the first set, everything was connecting.”
Salker was the lone SBL attacker with double-digit kills. Hinkel counted 27 assists, and the Warriors capitalized on 24 Sheldon attack errors.
Payten Lode and Maddie Olson led the Orabs with 12 kills apiece.
SBL will face No. 2 West Delaware (41-5) in a 3A semifinal at 2 p.m. Wednesday.