No. 9 Cubs roar past Fillies to return to state
NEVADA - Another year, another trip to state for the Nevada volleyball team.
The No. 9 Cubs made short work of Dallas Center-Grimes in the Class 4A regional finals Monday at the Nevada High School Field House. The Cubs — last year’s 3A state champions — swept the Mustangs to advance to state for the fourth season in a row.
DCG (20-15) had beaten a previously-ranked Ballard team and upset No. 10 Adel-Desoto-Minburn to reach the regional final. But the battle-tested Nevada team didn’t allow the Mustangs to come close to keeping that momentum going on Monday, prevailing by scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-17.
“We scouted them really hard,” Nevada head volleyball coach Lori Stephenson said. “We knew that (Grace) Judd was going to get a number of kills just because she always does when they go to her, and she hits pretty hard. Then after that it was hit and miss. We had just seen enough games that I think we knew what was open and what they were going to do. I think that’s what worked tonight.”
Having a senior-dominated team with three years of previous state experience played a big part in Nevada’s ability to control the Fillies.
“The girls held their composure,” Stephenson said. “We work on that all the time where they celebrate, but then they’re done and it’s very even and it’s always next point. We don’t want to ride the highs so high and the lows so low. We try to be even. They’re just doing a great job keeping their composure.”
Nevada had a .228 kill-efficiency rate with 36 kills and 13 errors in 101 attacks. The Cubs put up 59 digs and 10 blocks defensively and finished 66 of 73 serving with three aces in a well-rounded effort.
“We knew their weak spots, so we just kept hitting their weak spots,” Nevada senior libero Kelsey Wiederien said. “We knew they were a little rough on defense so we just kept working.”
Wiederien finished with 14 digs in the back row. She also had two assists and went 16 of 17 serving.
Abby Stephenson had another banner night at outside hitter for Nevada. She totaled 18 digs, 15 kills, three blocks and one ace.
Gillian Tupper was again fantastic at setter for the Cubs. Tupper recorded 32 assists, 11 digs, two kills and one block.
Hattie Rhodes put up eight kills, four digs, two blocks and one ace and Kacie Rewerts delivered four kills and three blocks at middle hitter for Nevada. Skye Borton played well at right-side hitter with six kills, five digs and one assist.
Morgan Tupper had five digs, one block and one ace; Madison Thompson one kill and Amanda Fortmann two digs. Their efforts helped fill the void of injured outside hitter Chloe Davis.
Nevada will take a 29-13 record into the state tournament. The Cubs face a tall task in the 4A state quarterfinals next Tuesday as they go up against No. 1 Pella (36-4).
The state volleyball tournament will take place at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. Nevada’s match with Pella next Tuesday will begin at 4 p.m.