Nevada stuns No. 12 Roland-Story in 3A regional semifinals: Cubs avenge HOIC loss

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
The Nevada volleyball team celebrates after upsetting No. 12 Roland-Story in four sets 3-1 during the 3A regional semifinals at Story City Oct. 20.

This is the match Nevada wanted.

Roland-Story had been a thorn in the Cubs' side over the last two years. The Norse defeated Nevada during Heart of Iowa Conference play each season to lay claim to the conference championship.

This year's match was especially painful for Nevada. Roland-Story won a five-set thriller at the Nevada High School Field House.

When the Cubs found out they were going to be in the same regional bracket as the Norse they immediately set their focus on returning the favor.

Nevada almost got caught looking past Ballard in the regional quarterfinals, rallying for a five-set victory over the Bombers. But the Cubs got the job done and could set their sights on the Norse.

Things didn't go well at first. The Cubs looked completely overmatched in dropping the first set, 25-14.

But from then on it was all Nevada. The Cubs won the next three sets in convincing fashion to stun the No. 12 Norse during the Class 3A regional semifinals Oct. 20 at Story City.

"They're really good and we knew we had to come with our best tonight," Nevada senior middle blocker Shelbi Hazlitt said. "It feels really good."

After losing the first set Nevada pulled off back-to-back 25-18 victories to take charge. The Cubs went up 21-13 in the fourth set then held off a late Roland-Story charge to score a 25-21 victory and advance to the regional finals.

"It was our energy," Nevada middle blocker Lily Goos said. "I think that's probably the best team chemistry we played with all season."

Roland-Story setter Madison Geise tries to get past a block attempt by Nevada middle blocker Lily Goos during the fourth set of the 3A regional semifinal match between the 12th-ranked Norse and Cubs Wednesday at the Norsemen Gym in Story City. Goos had seven blocks and Nevada won in four sets.

Goos came up huge in the decisive fourth set.

Goos recorded two blocks and kills apiece as part of a 6-2 run that gave Nevada a comfortable 18-11 lead. Her second block came off a kill attempt by Norse all-state setter Madison Geise to put Nevada up six and Hazlitt followed with a kill to cap the big run.

"I knew that set was pretty much the deciding factor," Goos said. "I tried to play for my team."

Goos finished the match with 11 kills and seven blocks.

Maddie Dunham had an unbelievable dig in the back row to keep the big run going. Dunham ran all the way back to the wall near the Nevada student section and got enough on the ball with her hand as she was facing away from the net to get it to libero Dakota Hendricks.

Hendricks then set the third volley over the net and Roland-Story eventually ended up getting the point.

"Every day in practice we say no wood — never let the ball hit the floor," Dunham said. "That's what I try to do. I go for everything."

Dunham ended up with nine digs, eight kills, four aces and two blocks.

Roland-Story fought its way back to 23-21 behind a strong serving stretch by senior libero Ally Ringsby. But Nevada regrouped in time to close out the match, with senior Maddie Dunham finishing it off with a tip kill from the outside.

"After that first set I had all the confidence in them," Nevada head coach Jonny Sneiderman said. "They were prepared for this matchup. They were some things we knew were going to be thrown our way and we handled them."

Roland-Story ended its amazing season with a 29-8 record.

Madison Geise and Reagan Barkema were the two dominant forces for Roland-Story all season. The senior duo bowed out with tremendous efforts in defeat, with Geise recording 22 assists, 13 digs and six kills and Barkema 15 kills and 13 digs.

Nevada improved to 21-21 heading into the regional finals. 

Nevada middle blocker Shelbi Hazlitt spikes the ball during the fourth set of the Cubs' 3-1 victory over No. 12 Roland-Story in the 3A regional semifinals at Story City Wednesday. Hazlitt finished with 10 kills.

Hazlitt recorded 10 kills, three blocks and two aces. Mayzi Weig had 22 digs and nine kills and Emma Strottman delivered eight kills and five digs.

Mady Gibson dished out 37 assists and chipped in 12 digs. Dakota Hendricks tallied 34 digs and Reagan Davis had nine.

Colo-NESCO falls in 1A regionals

The Colo-NESCO volleyball team saw its season come to a close in the opening round of Class 1A regionals Oct. 18.

The Royals were swept by No. 11 Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 25-9, 25-6 and 25-10.

No stats were available for the match at press time. Colo-NESCO ended its season with a 6-22 record.