116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Their team running roughshod in a second-set surge, Western Dubuque students began one chant:
“IT’S too EA-sy.”
Then, a bit later, another:
“THIS is BOR-ing.”
Here’s the thing: There’s nothing boring about excellence. And Western Dubuque had a long stretch of greatness Monday afternoon.
The top-ranked Bobcats advanced to the Class 4A semifinals for the third consecutive year, sweeping Sioux City Heelan, 25-22, 25-13, 25-16 at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.
“Ever since we came here my freshman year to watch, we told each other we wanted to win one of these,” setter Madison Maahs said. “I have a good feeling about this year.”
» Photo gallery: Western Dubuque vs. Sioux City Heelan in state volleyball tournament
The Bobcats (32-3) won their 24th consecutive match and advance to face No. 4 Cedar Rapids Xavier (30-4)/No. 5 Marion (37-8) at noon Wednesday.
If they weren’t on full alert Monday when they got to town, they were after they heard that another No. 1 — Iowa City Liberty in 5A — was knocked off (by Johnston).
“We definitely didn’t want that to be us,” said senior Meredith Bahl, whose 14 kills put her over 1,000 for her career. “Coach (Megan Scherrman) said, ‘That had better not be you guys.’”
Western Dubuque navigated a bit of drama in the first set, trailing 19-18. But Maddie Harris collected back-to-back kills to trigger a pivotal 5-1 push, and it was clear sailing and sunshine the rest of the way.
Two runs defined Game 2 — a 7-1 surge that put the Bobcats in front, 9-5, and a six-point spree that concluded the set.
Nothing boring about that.
Then the Bobcats rolled to a 14-7 lead in the finale and sailed home.
One of the key cogs who led Western Dubuque to a state softball title last summer, Maddie Harris led all attackers with 15 kills, and posted a .333 kill efficiency.
“Getting that state title in softball, that really helps the mental game,” Harris said.
Bahl added 14 kills and 14 digs, Libby Lansing eight kills. And Maahs ran the show with 36 assists as the Bobcats enjoyed a 44-26 kill advantage.
Maliyah Hacker paced Heelan (20-17) with seven kills.