The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena is a cold place to be. It has to be, what, with the ice and all.
But when the ice was moved out last November for the state volleyball tournament, the action really heated up. Of the 28 matches played last year at state, 12 went over three games including Class 4A state champ Iowa City West having to win consecutive five-game thrillers to claim their title.
This year, the action gets even bigger as the state volleyball tournament will crown five champions for the first time ever. The additional fifth class will add seven more matches to the schedule as 40 teams compete over 40 days starting on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Locally, last year’s final four-class state volleyball tournament saw Davis County and Fairfield come the closest to qualifying as both made it to the regional finals. Several area teams will be trying to clinch a spot in the first-ever five-class state tourney this year when regional postseason play begins on Tuesday.
SCC hopefuls to battle in 3A regional, Ottumwa heading to Burlington
The night before Halloween is set to be a big night for prep volleyball in Ottumwa. It could be even bigger if the Bulldogs can win their postseason opener.
No matter what happens with the Ottumwa volleyball team in the Class 5A regionals, the home court of the Bulldogs will be rocking on October 30. On the first of two nights where state volleyball tournament berths will be handed out, a ticket to Cedar Rapids will be handed out to the winner of Class 3A, Region 8 with the South Central Conference assured of having at least one participant in that regional final.
Davis County, who made it all the way to the Class 2A regional finals last year before falling to West Liberty, will battle along with SCC rivals Albia, Chariton and Centerville on one side of the Class 3A, Region 8 bracket. The Mustangs and longtime head coach Marty Barnett will open the postseason at Centerville to face the Redettes while Albia will host Chariton on Monday, Oct. 23 in the regional quarterfinals.
The winners will meet the following Thursday night in Centerville in one of several regional semifinals in Class 3A, 4A and 5A. That same night, Ottumwa will hit the hardwood for their postseason opener in a Class 5A, Region 8 semifinal at Burlington.
The Bulldogs have split their first 32 matches of the season, most recently going 2-3 at the Oskaloosa Tournament this past weekend. Ottumwa has not played the Greyhounds, who were just 4-17 entering this week without having a win against a Class 5A opponent.
Should Jessica Carson’s squad win at Johannsen Gymnasium, Ottumwa would advance to the 5A, Region 8 finals at Iowa City West to face either Muscatine, fourth-ranked Iowa City High or the hosting 10th-ranked Women of Troy. That same night, either Davis County, Albia, Centerville or Chariton will be playing for a berth in the Class 3A state tournament in Ottumwa against either Central Lee, Columbus, Mid-Prairie or currently unbeaten top-ranked Mediapolis.
The SCC may have more then one team playing for a state volleyball tournament berth. One night after at least one conference squad plays in the 3A regional finals, conference champ Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont is hoping to be playing for the Class 2A, Region 6 title in Grinnell.
Gladys Genskow’s squad, who won 17 straight matches at one point this season, received an opening-round bye and will open the postseason at home on Oct. 23 against either Pella Christian or North Mahaska. Those two teams play a first-round regional matchup in New Sharon on Wednesday, Oct. 17, the same night that SEISC south rivals Van Buren and Cardinal play each other in another Class 2A, Region 6 opener.
The winner of that contest between the Warriors and Comets will take on Pekin in Eldon on Oct. 23. The winners in Eddyville and Eldon face off the following Friday in Eddyville with that winner heading to the regional finals in Grinnell to face one of six teams headlined by current top-ranked unbeaten Dike-New Hartford.
Two area squads ranked among the top 15 look to have high hopes for at least having a chance to play for a state tournament berth in Class 4A. No. 11 Fairfield, who lost in the regional finals last year to Solon, host Knoxville in an opening round contest on Monday, Oct. 22, and would host a regional semifinal contest the following Thursday against Southeast Conference rival Mount Pleasant with a win.
Two Trojan victories would put Nancy Diers’ squad right back in a regional final for the second straight season. That regional final would be back in Washington, where the Trojans made it to last year, to face either the host Demons, Clear-Creek Amana or seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier.
No. 15 Oskaloosa, meanwhile, needs just two wins to make it to the Class 4A state volleyball tourney. The Indians will host either Carlisle or Indianola on Thursday, Oct. 25, and would play against either Pella, Newton or sixth-ranked Solon in Victor the following Tuesday.
Several teams will be looking to make it past two rated rivals from SEISC South play in Class 1A, Region 8. MSAE, Twin Cedars and Sigourney will be battling in one half of the region that includes 12th-ranked New London while Moravia, Seymour and Moulton-Udell will try to navigate past a seven-team draw that includes second-ranked Holy Trinity.
For a complete look at all five regional volleyball brackets, check them out at IGHSAU.org.
Ottumwa’s Walker romps to IGA Junior Player of the Year honors
The way this week is going, Matthew Walker’s going to need to get a much bigger trophy case then he already has
Walker, who won the Class 4A individual state championship on Saturday in Polk City, nearly doubled up the point total of second-place finisher Dustin Atkinson of Ames in the Iowa Golf Association Junior Player of the Year race. The 15-year old Ottumwan amassed a total of 1507.8 points while Atkinson, who is 17 years old, finished with 817.3 points.
The highlights of Walker’s season were his victory includes his 4A state tournament title this past weekend and a victory in the Iowa Junior Amateur this past June. In both events, Atkinson finished second. Walker also finished solo third at two Amateur Junior Golf Association events, the AJGA Nebraska Junior at Quarry Oaks and the AJGA Junior All-Star at Eagle Ridge.
Both Walker and Atkinson performed very well when they stepped up to compete against the older set. Walker tied for second at the Ottumwa Amateur and tied for 17th at the Iowa Amateur. Atkinson made the round of 16 at the IGA Match Play and tied for 27th at the Iowa Amateur.
Warrior linkster Tucker sets new Cedar Creek course record
Mitch Tucker has already proven he thrive on one of Ottumwa’s golf courses this fall. Now, the former Oskaloosa star has bragging rights on both courses.
Tucker set the new course record at Cedar Creek Golf Course last week, posting a 61 during a practice round with Warrior teammates Kevin Workman and Conner Peck. The record round comes just a few weeks after Tucker fired a round of 67 in rainy adverse conditions during the second round of IHCC’s home Community First Credit Union Invitational at the Ottumwa Country Club.
According to Cedar Creek manager Greg Wilson, Tucker’s record round came on a very good day of work for the defending two-time NJCAA DI national champion Warriors. The practice round for the IHCC golfers included individual rounds of 63, 64 and 69 which would have given Mike Hagen’s squad an incredible team round of 257.
IHCC has won six of their last seven tournaments stretching from a five-tourney win streak to cap last season to their most recent win at their own Community First Credit Union Invite last month. The Warriors will continue the fall portion of their season next week at the Cougar Golf Classic in Chicago, Illinois.
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