West Delaware’s volleyball team completed a fine 40-6 season at the U.S Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, dropping a semifinal match to eventual Class 4A state champion Sergeant Bluff-Luton after advancing with a 3-1 win over Waverly-Shell Rock in the quarterfinal round.
The Hawks made their 12th state appearance to cap a year that included a 10th WaMaC East Division championship and tournament titles at Vinton-Shellsburg and the Hawk Invitational.
“This team had a great work ethic with a good vision throughout the season,” said Hawk coach Brett Mather, who picked up career win number 842 in Cedar Rapids.
The Hawks had seven players honored on WaMaC all-conference teams, with seniors Macey Kleitsch and Allison Collier, along with sophomore libero Ella Koloc, earning first-team nods.
Kleitsch, with 922 assists for an average of 8.78 per set along with 311 digs and 167 kills, was named WaMaC player of the year and became West Delaware’s all-time assist leader.
Collier put away 227 kills on the season for a 2.16 kill per set average along with 48 blocks and was deadly from the service line, leading the team with 56 aces on the year. Koloc, the latest in a series of exceptional West Delaware back row players, led the Hawks with 416 digs and was second on the team with 104 assists.
Senior Kinley Kolbet was a second-team all-conference selection along with junior Ava Hauser. Kolbet led the team with 241 kills and 76 blocks, while Hauser was close behind with 240 kills and 42 blocks.
Carlee Smith had a breakout season, with 119 kills on the year, to earn honorable mention all-league honors along with Heather Heims, who had 245 digs and 12 ace serves. Senior Sydney Morris (179 digs and 29 aces) and sophomore Kayla Felton (218 digs and 23 aces) were part of a back row that continued West Delaware’s tradition of outstanding defensive play.
Mather will say goodbye to eight seniors — Kleitsch, Collier, Kolbet, Morris, Leah Winkowitsch, Leah Wegmann, Katie Crock and Chloe Thein.
“Our seniors created a positive culture in our gymnasium, that led to great team and individual accountability,” he said.
Don’t be surprised if the Hawks are back in the mix in 2019, as there is plenty of talent returning.
“We have some big holes to fill,” said Mather. “The next person in not only needs to be ready, but to elevate their game to the next level for us to compete at a high level, and our returners need to take their games to the next level.”
West Delaware’s season statistics: kills — Kolbet 241, Hauser 240, Collier 227, Kleitsch 167, Smith 119, Schulte 114, Winkowitsch 23; assists — Kleitsch 922, Koloc 104, Collier 29, Felton 18, Wegmann 15, Heims 10, Schulte and Kolbet eight, Smith and Morris six, Hauser three, Winkowitsch one; digs — Koloc 416, Kleitsch 311, Heims 245, Felton 218, Morris 179, Smith 88, Schulte 72, Hauser 70, Collier 52, Kolbet 31, Winkowitsch 11, Wegmann seven, Crock and Thein two; blocks — Kolbet 76, Collier 48, Hauser 42, Smith 23, Kleitsch 22, Schulte 21, Winkowitsch one; ace serves — Colliert 56, Kleitsch 46, Koloc 33, Morris 29, Felton 23, Heims 12, Schulte three, Smith two, Winkowitsch and Wegmann one.