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Tournament rookie Ankeny Christian pulls off an improbable comeback, wins 1A state volleyball title
Eagles fight off 2 match points in Game 3, 2 more in Game 4, then pounce in Game 5 to top Gladbrook-Reinbeck
CORALVILLE — Explain that.
Explain wiping out two match points in the third set, two more in the fourth.
Explain the last three points coming from a 5-foot-5 hitter.
“The explanation comes from within these girls,” Ankeny Christian Coach Michele Quick said. “The girls started to feel heaviness early in the match.
“As soon as that lifted, they couldn’t be stopped.”
A state-tournament rookie team, seventh-ranked Ankeny Christian pulled off an improbable comeback to capture the Class 1A state volleyball championship in five sets over No. 4 Gladbrook-Reinbeck (21-25, 19-25, 28-26, 26-24, 15-10) in Thursday’s finale at Xtream Arena.
“We kept fighting,” said Macey Nehring, that 5-foot-5 sophomore that lowered the boom at the end. “We let each other know that we trusted each other and loved each other.”
Coach Quick called Nehring “a little firecracker” who “just would not quit. She had the most grit, and she was firing hard at the end.”
⧉ Related article: Photos: Ankeny Christian vs. Gladbrook-Reinbeck in Class 1A state volleyball championship
Ankeny Christian finished 39-3 with a starting lineup that consisted of five sophomores, a junior and a lone senior.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (34-10) breezed through the first two sets and appeared poised to close the Eagles out. The Rebels led 21-14 before ACA scored six in a row.
The Rebels still looked safe at 24-22, but couldn’t close it out. Same story in Game 4: 24-22, but Ankeny Christian got off the mat again.
“We couldn’t do it by ourselves,” said Katie Quick, the Eagles’ setter and the all-tournament captain. “We had to let God give us the strength to help us through the final points.”
Ankeny Christian’s Carley Craighead also made the all-tournament team, along with Megan Cooley and Ava Wyatt of Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Kennady Breitfelder of Springville and Brynn Smith and Trevyn Smith of Ackley AGWSR.