VAN HORNE - It took a little longer than usual, but it was well worth the wait.
The 10th-ranked Nevada volleyball team was forced to go longer than three sets in a match for the first time this season in its Class 3A regional final match with No. 8 Tipton Monday at Benton HIgh School.
After winning the first two sets, tipped edged past Nevada in the third to push the match to a fourth set. Cub head coach Jonny Sneiderman wasn’t sure how his team was going to react to playing another set with a trip to state on the line.
“That’s the last box we had to check,” Sneidermann said. “To feel like we were battle-tested.”
Tipton jumped out to a 5-2 lead to start the fourth set. But then Nevada regrouped and went on a 12-5 run capped by a Shelbi Hazlitt kill to take a 14-10 lead.
Nevada outside hitter Kacie Rewerts nearly got her head taken off on a hard kill during Tipton’s next attack, but all that did was refocus the Cubs. Powered by strong serving from Aubrey Gibson, Nevada went on a 9-2 run to take a 23-13 lead.
Tipton hung around a little while longer. But a Sydney Mosinski block picked up the 24th Cub point and after two Tiger points Rewerts got back at Tipton by connecting on a kill for game point, giving Nevada a 25-16 victory and a trip to the state tournament next week in Cedar Rapids.
“We just worked really hard for that one,” Rewerts said. “It’s just really special for us to earn that as a team. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it’s just so much more sweeter that it was a tougher game for us.”
Nevada looked like it was going to cruise to its 28th sweep of the season heading into the third set.
The Cubs overcame an 8-1 deficit to win the first set, 25-18. They carried the momentum over to the second set in a big way, crushing the Tigers by a 25-9 margin.
“We knew we had the match-ups,” Sneiderman said. “We’re a much more physical team.”
But Tipton adjusted in the third set. The Tigers took a 13-9 lead, and withstood two Nevada comeback attempts to pull off a 25-22 victory, with a Kamryn Chapman kill sealing the deal for the Tigers and setting up the decisive fourth set.
“Tipton didn’t make a lot of adjustments at first,” Sneiderman said. “Once they made adjustments then we had to counter adjust again, but that’s the fun part of coaching.”
Rewerts and setter Morgan Tupper were both part of Nevada’s last state qualifier when they played as freshmen in 2016. They are thrilled to be going back to Cedar Rapids one more time as seniors.
“It’s definitely an experience that no one should go without,” Tupper said. “Kacie and I are lucky that we get to do it twice. We’re so pumped to bring everyone that has not been a part of that yet. It’s difficult playing there, but it’s an experience and you’ll remember it forever.”
Rewerts had 20 kills with only four attack errors and six digs. Tupper ended up with 30 assists, 12 digs and four blocks.
Ellie Gray tallied 18 digs in the back row and added three aces, Erin Coogler came up with eight digs and Maddie Dunham had six.
Sydney Mosinski had 11 kills and anchored Nevada’s defense at the net with six blocks. Hannah Thomsen tacked on 10 kills and she chipped in six digs.
Gibson was strong once again serving the ball. She went 19 of 20 with an ace and was huge in the decisive fourth set by serving during the decisive 8-0 Cub run.
“Anything I can do to help the team,” Gibson said. “Going on that run really helped the team.”
Shelbi Hazlitt added three kills and and Katelyn Kingsbury four kills and one block.
Tipton ended its season at 32-7. Utah recruit Sommer Daniel had 24 assists, 12 digs and nine kills in her final match for the Tigers, Chapman added 10 kills and four blocks, Carly Puffer totaled eight kills and four blocks and Karlee Kamberling finished with 18 digs.
Nevada is the sixth seed in 3A for the state tournament. The Cubs will take a 33-9 record into next week’s state quarterfinal match with third seed Red Oak (33-6).
“We’re the underdog and I think people overlook us,” Tupper said. “We have fought to be part of state.”
The Cubs’ match with Red Oak is set to start at noon next Wednesday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
NEVADA - Nevada got its revenge and moved within one more step of qualifying for state with a decisive sweep of North Polk in the Class 3A regional semifinals Oct. 29.
Nevada was in control the whole match against a strong Comet team that had racked up 30 wins on the season. The 10th-ranked Cubs pulled off 25-17 victories in each of the first two sets and coasted to a 25-13 triumph in the third.
The victory put Nevada at 32-9. It was the Cubs’ second sweep of North Polk this season and it also earned them some payback after falling to the Comets in four sets at home during the first round of last year’s regionals.
“It just felt great to beat them 3-0 again this year and to show them that we’re a lot tougher team this year,” Nevada senior Kacie Rewerts said. “We’ve gotten a lot stronger over the offseason and we come into practice with high energy and effort every single day and that really helps us in our games. We just get in a good flow with each other.”
Rewerts made history in the victory.
Rewerts was an overwhelming force at outside hitter, hammering down 17 kills with only four errors in 33 attacks in her final match on the home court. That gave her 440 kills on the season, breaking the Nevada single-season mark of 432 set by all-state performer Abby Stephenson in 2016.
“Kacie is a tremendously gifted athlete and she always focuses on helping her teammates first, whether that be in the weightroom, in practice, in life or in a match, so for her to achieve this individual record is so special,” Nevada head coach Jonny Sneiderman said. “Over the summer I spent time each week with the captains working on individual and team process goals and never once did Kacie have this achievement in her plan - it was always about team successes. Anyone that has met Kacie knows how much positive energy she radiates into this world, I’m really happy for her and honored to be on the sideline for that moment.”
A big reason Rewerts was so successful was the attention North Polk had to give Nevada’s other weapons at the net.
In the first meeting between the two teams Hannah Thomsen had six kills, Katelyn Kingsbury and Sydney Mosinski five apiece and Morgan Tupper four. North Polk had to respect every hitter, opening the door for Rewerts to flourish.
“There’s just so many kids that we can turn to,” Sneiderman said. “There are multiple options that we have.”
Thomsen still had eight kills on the right side. Mosinski, Tupper and Shelbi Hazlitt chipped in three apiece.
Kingsbury set the tone for Nevada with two big kills at the start of the first set.
“I just tried to do my role,” Kingsbury said. “I think it helped the team.”
Kingsbury ended up with four kills and three digs on Tuesday. She began the season without any varsity experience, but has become a valuable weapon at the net, allowing Rewerts to be used more effectively in the back row and for Tupper to be more creative running the attack at setter.
“When the regular season got done we did a cool team-bonding thing talking about different, memorable victories and memorable things individually and as a team,” Sneiderman said. “For Katelyn it was our (first) North Polk match. She felt like she started understanding our blocking system and started feeling some confidence hitting her offensive spots.”
Along with the dominant attack - the Nevada had 38 kills and only nine attack errors on the night. Tupper also handed out 31 assists and Aubrey Gibson and Ellie Gray each chipped in seven digs.