A WaMaC East Division regular season title was on the line when West Delaware and Beckman met in Dyersville, Oct. 5, and it was the Hawks who came out on top in a battle of ranked opponents, 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21).
“What a great atmosphere to play in. Every time you play Beckman both crowds are very involved, it’s a packed house, and both schools’ squads kind of step up their games,” said West Delaware coach Brett Mather. “Both squads played extremely well.”
Class 3A’s No. 1 West Delaware improved to 30-3 on the season, while Beckman’s Class 2A No. 8 Blazers fell to 26-10. West Delaware, Beckman and Marion all finished 4-1 in divisional play to share the East title with the WaMaC Tournament on the horizon.
There was no shortage of quality volleyball on the floor, as both teams lived up to their rankings in a state tournament caliber contest.
“It’s what you want, particularly for a WaMaC championship,” said Mather. “You want high-level volleyball and that’s what both teams did. It was definitely just a fun night of volleyball. Both teams battled it out and every single game was extremely competitive.”
Set one was tied 12 times. Beckman standout and ISU recruit Kiersten Schmitt’s eighth kill knotted a back and forth game at 17, and it was tied at 19 before West Delaware’s Alivia Schulte got it going with four kills the rest of the way in a 25-21 Hawk win.
Beckman jumped to a 9-3 advantage in set two, but three Blazer errors, a West Delaware block, a kill from Jaci Bries and a Brooke Krogmann kill saw things tied at 10-10. After Beckman went up by two at 19-17, Bries got on another roll and a 4-0 run featuring two kills and a block from Bries and a Kayla Felton block gave the Hawks a 21-17 lead. The Blazers battled back, and a Schmitt kill narrowed the gap to one at 23-22, but a West Delaware block took things to set point. Another Schmitt kill made it 24-23, but a resounding kill by Schulte ended it and put the Hawks up two games.
Beckman meant business in the third set, and two ace serves from libero Olivia Hogan put the Blazers up 6-2. Two Schmitt kills, a third ace of the set from Hogan and a Jenna Lansing push kill saw Beckman on top 18-11. Krogmann scored on a block to cool things down, but three consecutive Hawk errors later, it was 21-12, and to nobody’s surprise, it was Schmitt that closed the deal at 25-19.
The Hawks led all the way in set four, as setter Carlee Smith moved the ball around, getting everyone involved. Kills by Schulte, Smith and Bries made it 5-2, and consecutive kills from Krogmann and another Bries quick made it 11-5. It was an eight-point advantage at 14-6 before Schmitt took over on the Beckman side, knocking home five kills and adding a block for good measure to get within two at 15-13.
Schulte got the Hawks back on track with a kill at 16-13, and Schmitt was able to connect on only one of the next four attacks, expanding the lead back to five, 19-14.
A WD service error and a Kamryn Klas kill narrowed the gap to three, but Smith and Allie Demmer connected in the middle to make it 20-16. Beckman fought back, and Jenna Lansing’s two kills sandwiching a Kayla Felton score had the Blazers in it at 21-20.
That’s when West Delaware finished on a 4-1 run to end the match. Smith and Bries connected on a right-side slide and Schulte scored to make it 23-20. Bries’ fifth block of the night made it 24-20, and after a Hawk hitting error, Smith went to the left side and Schulte’s big kill was good for the 25-21 win.
“I thought we played really strong mentally,” Mather said. “We played with great effort and our tempo was definitely a difference for us. We were able to set all 30 feet of net, whether it was a slide or the back set or to push it outside. I thought we passed really well which led to great opportunities and some one-on-ones for us.”
West Delaware statistics against Beckman: assists — Smith 33, Koloc three, Felton and Schulte one; kills — Schulte 13, Bries nine, Allie Demmer and Klostermann six, Smith three, Felton one; digs — Schulte 26, Koloc 21, Felton 20, Smith 12, Oliva Halverson 10, Krogmann six, Bries and Demmer one; blocks — Bries five, Schulte and Krogmann three, Felton and Demmer two; ace serves — Schulte one; serving — Felton 20-of-20, Halverson 15-of-15, Koloc 16-of-17, Smith 14-of-16, Hayley Vaske 12-of-15, Schulte 6-of-10.
Beckman was led by Leah Wessels’ 43 assists and Kiersten Schmitt’s 29 kills.
West Delaware won 3-of-4 at the Westside Invitational, hosted by Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Oct. 9, going 3-0 in pool play before dropping a quarterfinal match to Class 5A No. 6 Ankeny Centennial.
The Hawks defeated Tripoli 2-0 (21-8, 21-12), Linn-Mar 2-1 (21-12, 16-21, 15-10), and Des Moines Dowling Catholic 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 21-19), before Centennial won the quarterfinal match 2-0 (23-25, 21-25).
“We played really well in pool play,” Mather said. “Linn-Mar played at a high level, but our girls maintained their composure. The Dowling match was just a fun match to play and I’m sure a fun match to watch.
“It came down to a 21-19 third game, which is pretty impressive. Both teams had opportunities and match points, but it was fun to see both teams battle so hard.
“It definitely makes a difference playing a tough schedule. Playing an easy schedule, you don’t learn a lot, but playing those high-level matches you see some things you want to work on.”
West Delaware statistics at Westside Invitational: assists — Smith 85, Koloc five, Susie Funke four, Felton and Schulte two, Demmer one; kills — Schulte 35, Krogmann 21, Felton 14, Demmer 13, Bries 12, Smith four; digs — Koloc 48, Felton 43, Schulte 30, Halverson 22, Smith 11, Krogmann seven, Vaske six, Bries five, Demmer three; blocks — Bries and Krogmann four, Felton, Schulte and Demmer two; ace serves — Schulte three, Smith, Koloc and Felton two, Vaske and Halverson one; serving — Smith 38-of-38, Vaske 34-of-35, Felton 38-of-40, Koloc 31-of-34, Halverson 17-of-20, Schulte 21-of-30.