Spartans fall to D-NH, MHS stopped by Waukee

CEDAR FALLS – Grundy Center ran into a familiar foe while Marshalltown kept going at the Tiger Volleyball Invitational here Saturday.

The Class 2A No. 6-ranked Spartans got stopped in the opening round of the championship quarterfinals by top-rated Dike-New Hartford, while Marshalltown went all the way to the consolation finals before falling to Waukee.

Grundy Center (16-4) opened with a 2-1 showing in pool play, defeating Waukee (21-19, 13-21, 15-12) and Des Moines East (21-10, 21-16) but falling to 5A No. 9 Cedar Falls (21-18, 21-14).

The 16-team tournament featured five ranked clubs and the Spartans met Dike-New Hartford – polled eighth nationally by – in the only quarterfinal contest between rated teams. The two-time defending state champion Wolverines won their pairing in straight sets, 21-13, 21-7.

Dike-New Hartford (26-1) went on to defeat 5A No. 7 Dowling Catholic in the semifinals and then 4A No. 6 Charles City in the title bout, sweeping through the day with a 12-0 games record.

No statistics were reported for Grundy Center, which returns to NICL West Division action with Tuesday’s match at Gladbrook-Reinbeck.

Marshalltown met former CIML Iowa Conference foe Waukee in the consolation finals, falling in a three-set nailbiter, 15-25, 25-19, 15-13. Leiah Paustian led the Bobcats with 10 kills and Rachel Whaley had nine in the contest for MHS, which served 54-for-55 and led in all three sets.

“Overall it was a good day of ball,” said Bobcat coach Terri Westendorf. “We had some really tight matches with good teams. I feel like the girls definitely are moving forward, continuing to progress and get better. I’m very upbeat about today.”

Marshalltown (8-13) finished with a 3-3 mark on the day, going 1-2 in pool play before moving through the consolation bracket and reaching the finals. The Bobcats bested Waterloo East (21-17, 21-14) in pool play but fell to Dike-New Hartford (21-11, 21-6) and Cedar Rapids Washington (21-14, 18-21, 15-10).

In the consolation quarterfinals, MHS edged Des Moines East (22-20, 21-11) and then swept Aplington-Parkersburg in the semifinals (25-16, 25-23). Waukee, now 13-10 this season, rallied back after falling in the first set to the Bobcats.

“That was a great match, we really controlled them in the first game with our serve,” said Westendorf. “We didn’t get out with the same fire in game two and we played tight in the third game.

“Overall we attacked as well as we have all year, we kept our serves in and we serve-received really well. Now we’ve just got to get a few more kills and digs and we’ll get on the positive side of the outcomes.”

Whaley led MHS with 36 kills on the day, while Paustian finished with 34. Sam Hughes tallied 21 kills as well. Lindsey Ricken totaled 43 assists and Amanda Hughes had 32 more.

Sharissa Stansberry paced the defense with 32 digs, Paustian had 30 and Whaley 23, while Emily Rebik led at the net with nine blocks. Paustian posted the top serving numbers on the day, going 57-for-61 with nine of the Bobcats’ 24 aces.

As a team, MHS served 174-187 (93 percent) on the day and finished with at least a .125 attack percentage against every opponent except for Dike-New Hartford.

Next up for the Bobcats is Tuesday’s home match against 5A No. 5 Urbandale.