116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — West Delaware found itself between a block and a hard place.
Unity Christian had become a wall at the net. Once up two sets to none, the second-ranked Hawks were in serious danger of heading to a who-knows-what-will-happen Game 5.
“I was definitely a little nervous,” libero Ella Koloc said.
Then, the Hawks turned to their own blocking game, erased a 24-21 fourth-set deficit and finished off a Class 3A state-quarterfinal victory, 25-18, 25-16, 20-25, 26-24, at the state volleyball tournament Tuesday morning at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
“I’m proud of the girls,” Hawks Coach Brett Mather said. “They battled.
“But I think they’ve got more in the tank.”
» Photo gallery: West Delaware vs. Unity Christian in state volleyball tournament
West Delaware (41-5) advances to Wednesday’s semifinal against No. 6 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (31-6). First serve is 2 p.m.
The Hawks were 4A runners-up last year.
Up 24-21, No. 7 Unity (28-5) was on the cusp of forcing a fifth set. But a ball-handling error extended the set, then the Hawks took care of the next three points themselves.
Kayla Felton put down a block. Then it was Brooke Krogmann’s turn, to tie it. Then it was Jaci Bries, and suddenly the Hawks were at match point.
An attack error by the Knights sent the Hawks onward.
“We really focused on us,” Alivia Schulte said. “We came together and closed blocks.”
Koloc said, “You can’t think about all the points you have to score. You have to get one at a time.
“We played aggressive, and we played with our entire hearts.”
West Delaware motored through the first two sets; its latest deficit in either was 3-2 in the second.
“Everybody came together early,” Schulte said. “We had all the energy in the world.”
But Unity is formidable at the net, and the Knights’ size began to take a toll.
Down 10-6 in the Game 3, Unity stormed back and dominated the rest of the set and took the lead midway through the fourth.
“It comes down to passing,” Koloc said. “If you don’t get good passing, they’ll be ready where you’re hitting.”
Unity finished with 13 blocks, 4.5 by Tyra Schuiteman, compared to six for West Delaware. But the Hawks had the three biggies at the end.
Schulte paced the Hawks with 16 kills. Krogmann, a freshman, added 10.
“The first set, I was pretty nervous,” Krogmann said. “I was able to get past it. It was so much fun. I loved it.”
Carlee Smith tallied 43 assists and 12 digs. Koloc had 17 digs.
Gracie Schoonhoven paced Unity with 14 kills. Schuiteman added 12.