116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — They’re not just an intriguing pack of pups any more.
They’ve got teeth. Sharp teeth.
“We’ve gotten so much better,” Brooke Ellyson said. “It’s all started clicking lately.”
Fourth-place finishers in that gauntlet also known as the Wamac Conference East Division, the Mount Vernon Mustangs continue to grow up in front of our eyes.
They reversed regular-season outcomes against Dyersville Beckman and West Delaware in the final two rounds of the Wamac tournament Thursday night at Marion High School.
“This entire team is growing into a really good team,” setter Madeleine Miller said. “Everybody is special and unique.”
Ranked No. 6 in Class 3A, the Mustangs (31-12) tripped No. 1 West Delaware in the final, 25-23, 25-19.
“This team has gradually gotten better, every week,” Mustangs Coach Maggie Willems said. “Whether it’s individually or a phase of the game, it’s all coming to fruition.”
Mount Vernon has one of the state’s very best freshmen in hitter Chloe Meester, but there are other young gems in this collection. One of them is Ellyson, a sophomore who — according to Willems — is already one of the team leaders.
“Brooke is athletic. Brooke is dynamic. And she is a person that her teammates look up to, no matter what grade she is in,” Willems said.
Mount Vernon was forced to a three-setter against Independence in the quarterfinals, winning 15-12 in the third. Then the Mustangs handled Beckman, 25-12, 25-21 in the semis.
West Delaware (37-5) swept Benton Community in the first round and outlasted Marion in a three-set semifinal. The Hawks beat Mount Vernon in a four-set match in divisional play, but this was a new day and a new outcome.
“We didn’t serve receive,” Hawks Coach Brett Mather said. “We passed the ball 15 feet off the net, and if you give a team like that easy balls, they’re going to take advantage.”
Mount Vernon took the lead midway through the first set and held a 19-15 advantage. The Hawks got within one point on three occasions late, but a kill from Meester closed it out. Ellyson had seven kills in the opening set.
West Delaware erased a five-point deficit to draw even in Game 2, 16-16, but kills from Ellyson and Meester triggered a 9-3 run that sealed the outcome.
WAMAC CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
West Delaware def. Benton Community, 25-19, 25-22
Marion def. Vinton-Shellsburg, 18-25, 25-14, 15-4
Dyersville Beckman def. Clear Creek Amana, 25-20, 25-16
Mount Vernon def. Independence, 21-25, 25-22, 15-12
Benton Community def. Vinton-Shellsburg, 25-13, 25-14
Clear Creek Amana def. Independence, 25-27, 25-21, 15-6
Maquoketa def. South Tama, 26-24, 25-23
Solon def. Williamsburg, 25-23, 26-24
Center Point-Urbana def. Maquoketa, 25-22, 25-20
Solon def. South Tama, 25-15, 25-17
Center Point-Urbana def. Williamsburg, 25-17, 25-19
West Delaware def. Marion, 25-16, 26-28, 15-9
Mount Vernon def. Dyersville Beckman, 25-12, 25-21
Mount Vernon def. West Delaware, 25-23, 25-19