The Iowa Mennonite volleyball squad is a match away from a state tournament berth after defeating Iowa City Regina Monday night in the regional semifinal match at IMS. IMS won 15-0, 15-13, 15-9, …
The Iowa Mennonite volleyball squad is a match away from a state tournament berth after defeating Iowa City Regina Monday night in the regional semifinal match at IMS. IMS won 15-0, 15-13, 15-9, earning a Class 1A regional final match at New London this Thursday.
In the fourth meeting of the year between the two teams, the Maroon and Black expected and received a tougher match than last week’s 3-0 blow-out of the Regals in the district finals. However, the match did not start that way. After trading two side-outs for each team, IMS build a 3-0 lead in the first game behind Jill Widmer’s serving and Jessica Wilson’s attacks. Later with Wilson behind the line serving, IMS pulled out to a 10-0 lead before siding-out again to Regina. The Maroon and Black got the serve back and went ahead by 12 on a Cammy Perez ace. A side-out later had Tammy Darby serving out the match for a game one shutout.
“This was a tough match to prepare for,” IMS coach Dwight Gingerich said. “We played so well last week and Regina just didn’t play well—how do you convince anybody that this would be a touch match? As a coach, I knew Regina would be capable of playing the way they did tonight. And winning 15-0 in the first game made it even tougher.”
The Regals did not lie down after failing to score a point and fought IMS tooth-and-nail for the remainder of the match. Regina served to start game two, but a kill by Ashley Wilson gave IMS the serve and then later a point when she combined with Kristi Miller on a block. Regina then put down a kill of their own for a side-out, then pulled out to a 3-1 lead before losing serve. IMS pulled back to within one point of Regina before the Regals pulled ahead again 7-3. A kill by Jeana Pickard stopped the Regals and gave Jessica Wilson the serve, but they could only muster one point off of an Ashley Wilson kill before siding-out to Regina again. With Jessica Wilson in the back row, the Regals became very aggressive with their hitting, building a 10-4 lead and keeping the Maroon and Black on their heels, forcing several bad passes and sets.
A Pickard tip returned the serve to IMS where, with Perez behind the line, the team cut the lead to 10-6 before siding-out again. IMS got the serve back right away and kills by Ashley Wilson and Shantell Detweiler cut the score to 10-8. Regina then went up 11-9 when Jessica Wilson put down a thundering spike that gave IMS and Wilson the serve. Jessica served a string of three points which gave IMS the lead for the first time since the initial point in the game at 12-11. An Ashley Wilson spike which grabbed the line returned serve to IMS where Cammy Perez got her team to game point at 14-11. Regina got the serve back and scored twice before a Miller tip won an IMS side-out. Widmer then served the final point to put IMS up 2-0 for the match.
With their season on the line, Regina played very scrappy on defense and aggressive on the attack in a game three that stayed knotted at one-all through several side-outs. Regina eventually scored a point to make it 2-1 when Gingerich called sophomore Tiffany TeBockhorst off the bench to help spark his team. Regina pulled to a 5-1 lead, but IMS tied the game at five-all, then at six-all. With the score at 7-6 for IMS, a textbook pass-set-kill from TeBockhorst to Miller to Jessica Wilson gave serve to IMS where they pulled out to a 9-6 lead.
“Tiffany came in and gave us some great play,” Gingerich said. “I don’t think she had any errors in passing; she was always in the right position. She has the type of head you want on the court in that situation. All year, we have been able to go to the bench when people are struggling, it is nice to be able to go to the bench to give us what we need.”
Jessica Wilson then served a string of five points, helped by a diving save by Pickard and a kill from Ashley Wilson, then another strong kill by Pickard. After losing serve and two points to Regina, Ashley Wilson had a kill put right back into her face. Ashley got an arm on the ball, bumping it over to Miller who set it right back to Wilson who then spiked the ball through the Regina block for the side-out. IMS then ended the match on a Tammy Darby ace, 15-9.
“I am really proud of the way we hung in there and fought for every point, especially when we were down 10-4 in game two,” Gingerich said.
Jessica Wilson led IMS with 11 kills, 13 digs, four blocks, and was 18-for-19 serving with three aces. Cammy Perez contributed 18 digs and served 12-for-13 with an ace. Shantell Detweiler also collected 18 digs. Ashley Wilson recorded eight kills, eight digs, and four blocks. Jill Widmer was 11-for-11 serving while Jeana Pickard had nine kills. Kristi Miller was 11-for-11 serving and collected 29 hard-earned assists.
“We were making Kristi run all over creation tonight,” Gingerich commented. “Our passing wasn’t as sharp and she was having a tough time getting to the balls.”
The win sets up a regional final match with IMS (31-3-4) against Class 1A fifth-ranked New London on Thursday. The winner goes on to the State Tournament the following Thursday at the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids. The loser goes home.
“This will be our toughest match all season,” Gingerich said. “We will have to play a lot better than we did tonight or we will not be going.”
IMS defeated their first round regional opponent West Branch 15-3, 15-0, 15-0 last Wednesday at home.
The Bears put up a tough fight, forcing several side-outs and not allowing the IMS servers to score strings of points. However, the Bears were unable to convert their own good play into points, allowing IMS to walk away with the match.
“Defensively, we were able to pick everything up” Gingerich said. “West Branch was putting the balls down, but it seemed like only when we were serving. West Branch is a better team than how the score indicated and we had to play a good game to get the win.”
Jessica Wilson continued to lead the team closer to the state tournament, recording 19 kills, 12 digs, four blocks, and serving 14-for-14 with two aces. Cammy Perez led all servers going 18-for-19 with three aces while collecting eight digs. Jill Widmer also had a good night behind the line, serving 15-for-15. Kristi Miller served 10-for-10 and collected 28 assists while Shantell Detweiler had 10 digs.
“I was pleased with our level of concentration and consistency. Our back row play was excellent as we gave Kristi Miller some excellent passes to work with in getting the ball to our hitters,” Gingerich said.
From Wed., Oct. 27 at IMS.
IMS def. West Branch 15-3, 15-0, 15-0
Serving: 68-71, 6 aces (Cammy Perez 18-19, 3 aces; Jessica Wilson 14-14, 2 aces; Jill Widmer 15-15; Kristi Miller 10-10). Attack: 32 kills (J. Wilson 19 kills, Jeana Pickard 4 kills, Katie Boshart 3 kills, Shantell Detweiler 3 kills). Assists: 30 (Kristi Miller 28). Blocks: 8 (J. Wilson 4, Ashley Wilson 2). Digs: 49 (J. Wilson 12, Detweiler 10, Perez 8, Miller 8).
From Mon., Nov. 1 at IMS.
IMS def. Regina 15-0, 15-13, 15-9
Serving: 71-77, 5 aces (Jessica Wilson 18-19, 3 aces; Cammy Perez 12-12, 1 ace; Kristi Miller 11-11, Jill Widmer 10-10). Attack: 32 kills (J. Wilson 11 kills, Jeana Pickard 9 kills, Ashley Wilson 8 kills, Katie Boshart 2 kills). Assists: 31 (Kristi Miller 29). Blocks: 11 (J. Wilson 4, Ashley Wilson 4). Digs: 88 (Perez 18, Shantell Detweiler 18, Miller 8, A. Wilson 8, Boshart 8).
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