116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Maybe it was a good sign.
Western Dubuque was imperfect — erratic, even — in the first set, and still won it.
“Even though we won it, Coach (Megan) Scherrman lit us up pretty good,” Maddie Harris said. “That put a fire under our belts.”
“We needed to get Bobcat volleyball rolling,” Madison Maahs said.
They did. And they have a championship to show for it.
Top-ranked Western Dubuque went on to sweep No. 3 Waverly-Shell Rock, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23, for the Class 4A crown Friday afternoon at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
The Bobcats (34-3) finished the season with 26 consecutive victories. And that caps quite a calendar year for girls’ athletics at the school; Harris also was part of the Bobcats’ run to a softball title in July.
“We weren’t going to end our volleyball career with a loss,” she said.
Western Dubuque was a surprise state runner-up in 2019, a semifinalist last year. The Bobcats were unquestionably the top team in 4A this go-round.
“My freshman year, Maddy and Maddie and me came together and said we would win one of these,” said Meredith Bahl, whose 16 kills paced all attackers. “We worked hard through all of those open gyms. We were always working for this.”
Bahl’s 16th kill was the final point of the match, triggering a typical celebratory pile on the floor.
Maahs (41 assists) was the all-tournament captain. She was joined by teammates Bahl and Harris (14 kills), along with Avery Beckett of Waverly-Shell Rock, as well as Avery Van Hook of Marion, Ella McLaughlin of North Scott and Faith DeRonde of Oskaloosa.
Libby Lansing wasn’t selected, but her contribution can’t be overlooked. The middle hitter had 11 kills — and no errors — in 17 swings for a .647 kill efficiency.
“She was great,” Maahs said. “And a lot of the credit goes to the passers. You can’t run your middles without the passes.”
Harris had 13 digs, Natalie Ulrichs and Ella Meyer 11.
Neither team was sharp early. Western Dubuque committed 10 attack errors in the first set; Waverly-Shell Rock (44-8) had eight.
Bahl had two kills in a four-point run that put the Bobcats ahead 15-11, and they were able to hold off a WSR squad that got within one point on two occasions.
The last three Western Dubuque points came on a service error and two attacks that sailed long.
The Bobcats broke free from a 10-10 tie in the second set with six straight points, then held on after building a big lead in the third.
It was 9-1 before the Go-Hawks chipped away and eventually took a 21-20 lead. Harris’ kill tied the set at 21, then Lansing’s missile from the middle put the Bobcats ahead to stay, 23-22.
Beckett led Waverly-Shell Rock with 11 kills.