116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WEST LIBERTY — They were sweaty. They were sticky.
And for the most part, the Wilton Beavers were superior.
For the second straight year, in a winner-take-all battle for the River Valley Conference South Division volleyball title, Wilton took it to West Liberty. This time it was a four-setter (25-15, 25-14, 18-25, 25-12) inside a humid gymnasium at West Liberty High School.
“After that third set, we were still in control,” Wilton setter Ella Caffery said. “We just needed to finish.”
The Class 2A second-ranked Beavers (23-1, 6-0 RVC South) finished, in fine fashion. As they had in each of the first two sets, they didn’t face a deficit and won going away.
“We’re better when we’re calm and having fun,” Caffery said.
The match was full of stoppages, in which a towel was retrieved from the down referee’s post, and perspiration was wiped up.
“Just about every point, we had to wipe our side down,” Caffery said. “When you’re diving to get to every ball, the floor gets sweaty.”
Caffery distributed 49 assists. Every rotation, she has a dangerous target in Kelsey Drake (27 kills) and Carly Puffer (16).
It’s a veteran team that has its eyes on a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament; the Beavers were 2A semifinalists last year.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” West Liberty Coach Ruben Galvan said. “They kept us on our toes. Our youth showed tonight.”
West Liberty (19-1, 5-1) has an elite player in senior Macy Daufeldt, and the Drake recruit finished with 21 kills. The Comets knew Daufeldt would strike with regularity, but were equipped to handle it.
“We knew she was going to get her kills, but we wanted to keep her in the back row as much as we could,” Caffery said.
Wilton jumped to a 7-2 lead in the opener and pulled steadily away. Same story in Game 2; it was 8-3 quickly and the Beavers rolled from there.
In both sets, West Liberty managed just one service point.
That changed in Game 3, in which the Comets jumped in front 5-1 and 13-5 on their way to a convincing set win.
“Our girls aren’t going to quit,” Galvan said.
But Wilton regrouped in Game 4, and a six-point spree made it 12-4. The Beavers closed the match with five in a row.
Wilton finished with a 55-37 advantage in kills, 10-4 in blocks.
WILTON 3, WEST LIBERTY 1 (25-15, 25-14, 18-25, 25-12)
At West Liberty
Serving: Wilton 86-91 (.945), West Liberty 63-67 (.940)
Aces: Wilton 3 (Taylor Drayfahl 2), West Liberty 3 (three with 1)
Kills: Wilton 55 (Kelsey Drake 27), West Liberty 37 (Macy Daufeldt 21)
Assists: Wilton 51 (Ella Caffery 49), West Liberty 35 (Brooklyn Buysse 33)
Blocks: Wilton 10 (three with 3), West Liberty 4 (four with 1)