West Delaware moved one step closer to its 12th IGHSAU State Volleyball Tournament appearance with a 25-12, 25-22, 25-21 sweep of Decorah at Seedorff Gym, in Manchester, Oct. 29.
The Hawks (38-5) move ahead to host Charles City (19-25), Nov. 4, after the Comets pulled a mild upset of Center Point-Urbana in the regional semifinal.
“We had a great week and a half of practice,” said West Delaware coach Brett Mather. “We really focused on our mind-set and our mind-set was good all night long.”
Decorah entered the night 15-18, and the first set went as expected, with the Hawks jumping ahead early. Freshman Alivia Schulte’s two kills gave West Delaware a 3-2 lead, and kills by Ava Hauser and Allison Collier sandwiched an Ella Koloc ace to make it 9-3.
Kinley Kolbet’s put down of a Decorah overpass put the Hawks up 14-7, before Macey Kleitsch toed the line for a seven-serve run that included three aces to push things out of reach at 21-8. Carlee Smith’s kill and another Koloc ace ended things at 25-12.
“Obviously, you can’t script an opening set any better than 25-12,” Mather said. “Our girls came out in the right mind-set and executed well in the first set,”
An uncharacteristic series of unforced West Delaware errors allowed Decorah to get back in the match with a 9-1 run start to set two. Allison Collier’s ace serve and a Kleitsch kill made it 13-7. Hauser then came alive with a block and three kills, Kolbet scored twice in the middle and Schulte and Smith notched kills to bring the Hawks back at 18-18.
“Game two we didn’t execute very well and got into a dog fight,” said Mather.
A pair of Smith kills got West Delaware to 20, and two more Kolbet kills and a set-ender from Hauser allowed the Hawks to escape at 25-22.
“The big thing was our minds were right where they needed to be and that continued right into set three,” said Mather. “We didn’t let mistakes get to us and kept battling for points.”
The Vikings kept it close in set three, and it was a 10-9 Hawk advantage when Allison Collier stepped to the line and powered home three aces in six attempts to give West Delaware a 15-10 lead. After the Vikings closed to within two at 16-14, two more Hauser kills had the lead at 18-15. Decorah played its way to a single-point deficit at 20-19, but Kleitsch took over with three kills to make it 23-20 on the way to the match-ending 25-21 score.
“We battled,” Mather concluded. “We know we are capable physically, but mentally we went out and played a great match.”
West Delaware’s leaders were: kills — Hauser 10, Schulte eight, Kolbet seven, Kleitsch five, Smith four, Collier three; assists — Kleitsch 31, Kolbet and Koloc two, Kayla Felton and Heather Heims one; digs — Heims and Koloc 11, Sydney Morris five, Kleitsch four, Hauser and Schulte three, Felton two, Collier and Kolbet one; blocks — Hauser and Kolbet three; serves — Kleitsch 22-of-22, Koloc 10-of-11, Collier 14-of-16, Heims 6-of-7, Felton 5-of-6, Morris 9-of-11; ace serves — Collier four, Kleitsch three, Koloc two.