NEW LONDON — Volleyball is a game of scoring stretches and 10th-ranked New London High School had the longest ones.
As a result, the Tigers glided past Keota, 25-4, 25-8, 25-5, Monday night in the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A Region 7 tournament in Charles Lorber Gymnasium.
New London (27-9) will host Winfield-Mount Union (15-14) in Thursday's semifinal round. That winner advances to next Tuesday's championship match at Ottumwa against the Montezuma/Lynnville-Sully winner.
Keota, ending its season at 6-18, was simply outgunned at New London.
New London junior Alexa Wenger served nine aces on 38-for-38 perfection and served the Tigers to their two longest spurts. Senior libero Chloe Coleman added seven more aces and led the defense with 19 digs and senior setter Kristen Rohdy finished with 36 assists. Freshman Paris Wilka led the hitters with 13 kills and senior Kaylor Schulte added 12 more.
"In games like this, we can struggle at times," New London coach Maureen Heath said. "But we came out and we played our game. They did a nice job." At the beginning of the season, "we started out with all new players, but they've grown up and did a super job. They've worked hard to get the success they have. We could have come out and messed around, but we played really well. We served well and we didn't have too many offensive errors."
The Tigers never trailed. In the first game, a Keota spiking error gave New London a 6-3 lead and the serve to Wenger. She served 13 straight points, aided by three aces, four Kaylor Schulte kills, three Wilka kills and three Keota errors. Keota's Briana Duwa ended the spree with a block, but the Eagles wouldn't score again in the game. With Sophie Lounsbury serving, the Tigers won the game on two more Schulte kills, a Peyton Jackson kill and two Keota errors.
New London jumped out to leads of 7-0, 12-1 and 16-3 in the second game. Coleman served the final five points with two aces, including the game point, two Sophie Reighard kills and a Keota passing error.
Keota stayed with it a bit longer in the third game. New London went up 4-0, but the Eagles inched to within 5-7 on Addison Swanson's block of Schulte's spike. But Wilka's kill gave New London an 8-5 lead and put the ball in Wenger's hands again.
She served the final 17 points of the match, including four more aces. Wilka's 13th kill provided the match point.
"We got a great number (of kills) out of both (Wilka and Schulte)," Heath said. "We've had (Wilka) in and out of the lineup in the second half. She's really stepping up and playing like an upperclassman. She did a great job. She's definitely a bright moment."
Keota managed just five kills, two each by Lindsey Imhoff and Jolie Walker and one by Jaime Schulte. Keota kill leader Addison Sprouse was blanked, ending her season with 85 kills.
The Tigers now look to Winfield-Mount Union, a team they beat 12-21, 21-17, 15-9 in the New London tournament on Sept. 29.
"(W-MU's) Jenna Buffington is pretty tough," Heath said. "And they have good servers and good defensive players. It'll be a tight match."
Buffington led the Wolves to their Monday victory with 17 kills, two blocks and 20 digs.
Kills — Paris Wilka 13, Kaylor Schulte 12, Addie Pry 8, Sofie Reighard 6, Peyton Jackson 2.
Assists — Kristen Rohdy 36, Reighard 1.
Serving — Alexa Wenger 38-38 (9 aces), Rohdy 6-7 (2 aces), Chloe Coleman 17-18 (7 aces).
Blocks — Wilka 1, Reighard 1.
Digs — Coleman 19, Wenger 11, Kyra Linkin 8, Rohdy 7, Marah Hartrick 7.
Kills — Lindsey Imhoff 2, Jaime Schulte 1, Jolee Walker 2.
Blocks — Briana Duwa 1, Addison Swanson 1.
Serving (aces) — Lauren Imhoff 1.