By John Naughton
Photos by David Mable
CEDAR RAPIDS, Ia. — In a volleyball match with a staggering 234 points, it’s hard to imagine players and coaches begging for more.
Two-time state champion Ankeny Centennial won a five-set Class 5A semifinal against West Des Moines Valley on Thursday at the U.S. Cellular Center 25-15, 25-15, 27-25, 32-34, 19-17 in a match that lasted more than two hours.
In the end, Centennial had the survival mode to reach Friday’s state championship for a third straight time.
“I looked at (libero Kylee Macke) and she just had that drive in her eyes,” Centennial outside hitter Olivia Sandquist said. “It said we are going to go back.”
“I looked at (libero Kylee Macke) and she just had that drive in her eyes.”
The public-address announcer repeated “set, match point” five times in the fifth set.
Kenna Sauer hammered 21 kills and Sandquist added 10.
Second-ranked Centennial (34-3) will play No. 1 Cedar Falls (40-3) in the championship at 10 a.m. Friday.
Centennial reached match point in the third set but Valley fought back.
The Tigers (41-5) successively forced a fourth set, then a fifth.
Valley had match point at 14-13 in the final frame. Then Centennial took over, finally winning in its fourth match point.
Centennial coach Jessica Rinehart said she looked at her bench and wondered, “How hard is one point to come by?”
“Every single point mattered, and Valley put the pressure on,” Rinehart said.
Valley’s Hannah Lockin pounded a match-best 24 kills and teammate Madi Kubik added 19 in the loss.
“It’s amazing, coming back like that,” Valley setter Olivia Curry said. “It’s heartbreaking that we didn’t win.”
The teams combined for 118 kills, 112 assists, 235 serves and 114 digs.
“We’re both really great teams,” Sandquist said. “Those are the wins that feel the greatest.”
Valley coach Jeremy Mikesell said his team’s only previous five-set match, a win over Cedar Rapids Prairie in a regional final, helped prepare the team.
“I knew at some point that was going to come back and help us out,” Mikesell said.
Newcomer: Majda Suljic worried about being the new girl at school when she transferred to Cedar Falls. Her volleyball teammates helped her navigate the hallways. Suljic, a junior, said her teammates were “super inviting.”
“Once I got to the team, I really found my place,” Suljic said.
Cedar Falls won its semifinal Thursday and will face Centennial in the Class 5A state championship Friday.
Cry uncle: Ankeny setter Liv Winker had a special fan cheering for her in a semifinal match Thursday. The senior’s uncle is Mike Winker, a former activities director at Cedar Rapids Xavier. Both Ankeny and Xavier completed their seasons in semifinal action, Ankeny in Class 5A and Xavier in 4A.
A seat with a view: Former Ankeny High School coach Dave Whims had a great seat during the Class 5A semifinals Thursday. Whims placed a chair between the side-by-side courts to he could watch Ankeny take on Cedar Falls and Ankeny Centennial face West Des Moines Valley. Many of the players on the court were introduced to the sport by Whims.
The 4A Dubuque Wahlert team relied on 6′-3″ Mackenzie May’s 27 kills to overcome Cedar Rapids Xavier in three straight games. Wahlert will take on top seeded Pella in the finals at noon on Friday. May, a member of the U.S. Junior National Indoor Team, travels frequently to play the beach volleyball circuit in Florida and California. May will be be entering UCLA to play volleyball in the fall.
Bishop Heelan took Pella to five games. After splitting the first two games, Bishop Heelan took the lead in game three and threatened to upset the no. 1 seed. The Dutch wore Heelan down, winning the final two games 25-14 and 15 – 11 earning a spot in the finals against May and the Wahlert team.
In 3A Dike New Hartford continued it’s winning ways by sending Kuemper Catholic home, but not without a fight. Kuemper’s Kara Peter and Aimee Adams combined for 28 kills to push the third game beyond 25, forcing Dike New Hartford to score 29 points to move on.
The other 3A team to earn Friday play is Union who’s No. 13 Megan Hudson and No. 11 Payton Parker combined for 51 kills to overcome a feisty Mount Vernon in four games. Mount Vernon took Union to the limit, pushing the fourth game past 25 points, the final score 32-30.
In 2A, eight-seed Waterloo Columbus Catholic continues it’s upsetting ways by beating four-seed Unity Christian in three close games. Waterloo will take on Western Christian, who wore down Council Bluffs St. Albert in three games, earning a spot on the court in the finals.
Janesville’s front line recorded 46 kills to take down Holy Trinity Catholic in three games, who’s 31 kills were not enough. Janesville will take on Hudson in the finals at 7:00 p.m. After loosing the first game to Springville, it was all Hudson as No. 12 Kiley DiBerg had 34 kills to help their team to the finals.
Famous names: The Clayberg family of Pella owns a well-established athletic name. Brothers Nathan and Noah were all-state football players. Now sister Natalie, a sophomore, has helped the volleyball team reach the Class 4A state championship. Dad Brett was a football star and mom Megan played and coached volleyball. Noah plays at Iowa and Nathan is at Drake.
John Naughton, The Des Moines Register. firstname.lastname@example.org
By John Naughton, The Des Moines Register
Ankeny’s split into two public high schools in 2013 created concern about the community’s volleyball future.
After all, the Ankeny Hawkette program had reached the state tournament 11 straight times and earned four state championships.
The simple answer: Ankeny now has two volleyball powerhouses, not one.
At this week’s state tournament, Ankeny High and Centennial will bring their first seniors who have spent all four years playing at different high schools. Both teams reached the Class 5A tournament. Play starts at noon Tuesday at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
“Ankeny in the past years has been great in volleyball, even after the split,” Ankeny outside hitter Alyssa Ballenger said.
In the four-year span of two high schools, Centennial has reached state all four years and won back-to-back titles entering this season. Ankeny has qualified three times, too.
The community has continued to embrace the sport.
Don’t be surprised to see some back-and-forth trash talking on social media.
“There’s been a little tension,” Centennial libero Kylee Macke said. “People are saying stuff.”
Ankeny doubled its volleyball prowess with a process that started well before the split.
Coach Dave Whims, who led Ankeny through the 2014 season, worked hard to help develop talent that would feed into both programs. Administrators built two new school buildings — Centennial to the north and Ankeny to the south — that were identical down to the same floor plans.
Jessica Rinehart was hired as Centennial’s coach and has compiled a 148-20 record in four seasons and is ranked No. 2 behind Cedar Falls. Joe Morton, who is in his second season at Ankeny, has a 62-20 in two years. The Hawkettes are No. 5.
To the players, the years have spun by like a hard serve.
“It feels like yesterday, we were playing tournaments,” Macke said.
There’s some rivalry, yes, but that will happen in a community where both teams are so strong.
“It’s huge competition between our two schools in every sport,” Ankeny’s Ballenger said.
Back for more
Four state champions will try to continue a title run this week.
Centennial has won the last two crowns in 5A. The Jaguars open with a quarterfinal against Iowa City West at noon Tuesday.
Last year’s 3A winner, Nevada, has moved up to 4A. The Cubs (probably a good time for that nickname) face No. 1-ranked Pella at 4 p.m. in a quarterfinal.
Western Christian of Hull aims for a second consecutive 2A championship. The Wolfpack open with Grundy Center at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Class 1A defending champ Janesville will try to win again. The program won crowns in 2013 and 2015.
The only winner not to return was West Delaware of Manchester. The team, which won 4A last fall, fell to Osage in a 3A regional final.
Madi Kubik of West Des Moines Valley is just a sophomore, but has already set her sights high when it comes to college. Kubik, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, said she plans to play at Nebraska.
Nebraska won last year’s NCAA tournament. The current roster includes Mikaela Foecke, a sophomore from Fort Madison Holy Trinity.
Matt Johnson led Charles City to a state title in 2012 in 4A.
He’s helped Cedar Falls to back-to-back state tournament appearances since then.
Cedar Falls is ranked No. 1 in Class 5A with a 38-3 record.
All but two of the Register’s Super 10 All-Class Ranked teams reached the state tournament.
No. 1 Cedar Falls, No. 2 Ankeny Centennial, No. 3 Valley and No. 4 Ankeny all qualified in 5A. Fifth-ranked Western Christian (2A) and No. 6 Dike-New Hartford (3A) also made the cut, as did No. 8 Sumner-Fredericksburg (2A) and No. 9 Carroll Kuemper (3A).
The only ranked teams to fall short of state were No. 7 West Delaware and No. 10 Lake Mills.
The Register is partnering with Central Iowa Sports Network to bring you live video from the state volleyball tournament. The live streams will be available throughout the week at DesMoinesRegister.com.
State volleyball tournament schedule
At Cedar Rapids, U.S. Cellular Center
10 a.m.: Union (LaPorte City) (38-4) vs. Osage (23-11)
10 a.m.: Dike-New Hartford (45-5) vs. North Polk (37-9)
Noon: Mount Vernon (33-7) vs. Sioux Center (34-4)
Noon: Carroll Kuemper (28-1) vs. Davenport Assumption (28-8)
2 p.m.: Western Christian (Hull) (38-6) vs. Grundy Center (25-16)
2 p.m.: Unity Christian (Orange City) (34-4) vs. Mediapolis (33-7)
4 p.m.: Central Lyon (30-4) vs. C.B. St. Albert (26-4)
4 p.m.: Sumner-Fredericksburg (33-5) vs. Waterloo Columbus (27-13)
6 p.m.: Janesville (32-8) vs. Starmont (Arlington) (32-8)
6 p.m.: Hudson (33-4) vs. Lawton-Bronson (33-7)
8 p.m.: Fort Madison Holy Trinity (35-3) vs. Sidney (33-3)
8 p.m.: Audubon (27-6) vs. Springville (28-7)
10 a.m.: Class 5A
Noon: Class 4A
2 p.m.: Class 3A
4 p.m.: Class 2A
6 p.m.: Class 1A
10 a.m.: Class 5A
12:15 p.m.: Class 4A
2:30 p.m.: Class 3A
4:45 p.m.: Class 2A
7 p.m.: Class 1A
Provided by The Des Moines Register: By John Naughton , email@example.com
The Central Iowa Sports Network (CISN) and Iowa Public Television combine resources to stream IGHSAU State Volleyball Championship quarterfinal, semifinal and final games live from US Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids beginning on Tuesday, November 8 at noon.
Live streaming of the quarterfinal and semifinal games of all classes will be available at www.cisn.tv and www.iptv.org and on the CISN app as well as on the CISN YouTube Channel. Final games of each class will be aired live on IPTV as well as streamed at www.cisn.tv.
Class 5A Games begin at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 8, with Class 4A beginning at 4 p.m. Streaming of Class 3A quarterfinals will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Class 2A quarterfinals begin at 2 p.m. and Class 1A quarterfinals begin at 6 p.m. Semifinal games will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10.
On Friday, Nov. 11 Class 5A will kick off final matches at 10 a.m. Matches will begin every two hours with the finals of Class 1A starting at 6 p.m. Coverage is all free and accessible to anyone with a computer, phone, tablet and an internet connection.
Free streaming is brought to you by the Mid American Energy High School Girls Sports Network and through the support of Faraway Foods and the Iowa Pork Producers.
Central Iowa Sports Network is the No. 1 social streaming platform dedicated to local Iowa sports. Iowa Public Television is Iowa’s statewide public broadcasting network. IPTV provides quality, alternative programming that educates, enlightens, and entertains Iowans throughout the state.
Central Iowa schools are well represented in the 5A tournament with Dowling Catholic, Ankeny, Ankeny Centennial and West Des Moines Valley taking four of the eight slots in quarter-final play.
West Des Moines Valley, with it’s 40 wins and only four losses, takes on the 23-10 Dubuque Hempstead on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. on Court 2 at the Five Season’s Center in Cedar Rapids. The Ankeny Hawks, at 37-5 will challenge Linn-Mar (33-8) on Court 1 at the same time.
Starting the quarter-final play will be Dowling Catholic and Cedar Falls. The Maroons take a 27-15 record to the net against a tough 38-win Tiger team on Court 1 at noon on Tuesday. Also playing at noon, Ankeny Centennial (32-3) will challenge Iowa City West (23-14) on Court 2.
4A play begins at 4 p.m. on Tuesday as well. Leading off on Court 1 will be the 36-4 Pella Dutch against 29-13 Nevada Cubs who earned their place in the tournament with a victory over Dallas Center Grimes in regional play. The battle of the rivers will take place at 4 p.m. as well, when 30-8 Council Bluffs‘ Lewis Central take on Dubuque Wahlert (25-6) on Court 2.
At 6 p.m. the cross-town rivalry between Marion (34-9) and Cedar Rapids Xavier (31-9) takes place on Court 2. At the same time, Charles City takes their 37-5 record against the 34-8 Bishop Heelan team on Court 1.
On Wednesday, quarter-final action takes place starting at 10 a.m. for class 3A. Action for the 2A teams will begin at 2 p.m and 1A at 6 p.m., and conclude after the 8 p.m. matches.
Watch every game live on CISN.tv. Coverage begins on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at noon. Iowa Public Television will televise final games on Friday, Nov. 11, starting with the 5A finals at 10 a.m. CISN.tv will also stream IPTV’s coverage live online and on our app. Download the app for free on both android and apple devices.
Story by David Mable, CISN.tv. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.