The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

October 31, 2012

Top-ranked Mediapolis too much for Mustang spikers

OTTUMWA — Dennis Jandrey doesn’t have a whole lot of time to spare in his schedule these days. His dual roles as head volleyball coach and athletic director at Mediapolis have kept him incredibly busy this fall.

While he might not have a lot of time to spare, those looking for a T-shirt should definitely stop by his office sometime.

“Our office is just a T-shirt mess right now,” Jandrey joked.

After Tuesday night, they can start printing Mediapolis state volleyball tournament shirts. The second-ranked unbeaten Bullette spikers are headed to Cedar Rapids after sweeping Davis County, 25-21, 25-15, 25-14, in the Class 3A, Region 8 finals Tuesday night at Evans Middle School Gymnasium.

The victory continues an incredible fall for Mediapolis, which has unbeaten second-ranked teams in both volleyball and football. The school also celebrated the first state cross-country berth for its girls program and will host a Class 2A state football quarterfinal on Friday against Bondurant-Farrar that could send the Bulldogs to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls next weekend.

“It’s been a busy week this week. It was a busy week last week,” Jandrey said. “We’ve just been going all over the place these last two weeks, but it’s great for our kids and for our school.”

While Mediapolis celebrated a crowning achievement of qualifying for state, Davis County celebrated a season that exceeded expectations on the volleyball court. The Mustangs entered the season without one senior starter and didn’t count on finishing their season within one of state for the second straight year.

Even after suffering losing streaks of four and six straight matches during the year, Davis County kept right on fighting. Eight straight victories helped the Mustangs finish the year strong with 13 wins in their last 16 matches to cap a 20-15 season.

“I’m so proud of the way the girls played in this match and the way we’ve played throughout this season,” Davis County head coach Marty Barnett said. “To be at this point of the year without one senior starter is pretty remarkable.”

“It’s pretty awesome we got here considering we had just two returning starters from last year’s team. To make it this far is pretty great,” junior Rylee Eakins added.

For the second straight year, the Mustangs did not look intimidated at all by a highly-rated squad from Mediapolis. Davis County stunned the sixth-ranked Bullettes last year with a three-game sweep in the regional semifinals.

Shades of the upset started emerging in the opening game of the regional final rematch on Tuesday. Davis County hung right in every point with the hard-hitting Bullettes, keeping several points alive while opening an early lead that would last through most of the game.

“I told the girls going in that we just had to play our game,” Barnett said. “There’s not much we can change to make a difference in winning or losing the match, we just had to go out there and play the way we have all year.”

“All we could do was go out there and play our hardest. That’s what we did,” junior Megan Joos added.

Playing that confident style of volleyball helped Davis County open up a 20-15 lead late in the opening game, giving the Mustangs a chance to start another upset bid against Mediapolis.

“It’s a testament to our kids that we played up to the level of our competition,” Barnett said. “Sometimes with an opponent like (Mediapolis), it causes a team to back off a little bit. I don’t feel like our girls did that.”

While Davis County was gaining confidence early, Jandrey hoped his team wasn’t about let history repeat itself.

“We haven’t talked about it all year. We’ve tried to let these girls know that this is their team this year, but you start worrying a little,” Jandrey said. “If (Davis County) takes game one, you start wondering if the girls start thinking things are going to go just they way they did last season.”

With sisters Jessica and Rachel Holsteen leading the way, however, Mediapolis wouldn’t let Davis County end their volleyball season again. The Holsteens combined for a perfect 53-53 attacking night at the net with 26 kills, nearly matching Davis County’s team total of 27.

The attack of the Bullettes countered the Mustangs’ momentum as Mediapolis used a match-turning 21-3 run to steal the opening game and open a quick 11-2 lead in game two.

“We have confidence that we can come back if we have to,” Jessica Holsteen said. “We believe in ourselves and we believed we could win this match. We weren’t going to let this one get away from us.”

“Volleyball is such a game of ups and downs. Literally ups and downs,” Barnett added. “Our team hasn’t been as good receiving the serve typically as we have been serving it at the start of the games and I think we were still a little down when the second game began.”

Davis County never led again after losing their five-point edge in game one. Mediapolis maintained their lead through game two on the way to a 25-15 win, then pulled away after Davis County missed on a pair of serves to tie game three early to put away the match and a berth in the 3A state volleyball tournament with a 25-14 win in game three.

The second-ranked Bullettes, who have lost just two games all season, take a perfect 42-0 record to the Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids. Mediapolis takes on Iowa Falls-Alden on court one at Noon on Thursday in the 3A state quarterfinals.

Davis County, meanwhile, has high hopes to be a potential state qualifier next fall. The Mustangs lose just one senior and return every starter including Lauren Lynch, who had a team-best 13 digs and was 10-11 serving, Joos, who was 39-43 hitting with nine kills, and Eakins who had a block and team-best three aces on Tuesday.

“We just need to remember we’re a young team,” Joos said. “We can definitely be back here again next fall.”

“I really feel good about the way we played in this match and I really feel good about our team in 2013,” Barnett added.

Davis County wasn’t the only area team to fall a win short of state on Tuesday night. A pair of Class 4A squads missed out on regional titles as Oskaloosa and Fairfield both saw their seasons end.

The Trojans lost in Washington for the second straight year, losing to ninth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier (26-11) 25-21, 25-13, 25-15 in the Region 6 finals. Fairfield ends their season with a 27-8 record under head coach Nancy Diers.

No. 15 Oskaloosa, meanwhile, lost in four games (25-11, 23-25, 25-11, 25-18) to sixth-ranked Solon (31-4) in Victor. The loss brings the Indians’ 19-17 season under Jennifer Comfort to a close in the Region 5 finals.

Mediapolis 25-25-25

Davis County 21-15-14

Mediapolis Statistics

Serving — Molly Woodruff 14-14, Kensley Heater 13-13, Rachel Holsteen 12-13, Abby Eberhardt 11-12, Aubrey Siegle 9-10, Jessica Holsteen 5-7. Team 64-69. Aces — Eberhardt 2, Heater 2, Siegle 2, R. Holsteen. Team — 7.

Hitting — R. Holsteen 30-30, J. Holsteen 23-23, Heidi Hillyard 14-18, Heater 11-16, Haley Hillyard 8-9. Team 86-96. Kills — R. Holsteen 14, J. Holsteen 12, He. Hillyard 8, Ha. Hillyard 5, Heater 3. Team — 42.

Setting — Siegle 42. Team — 42.

Blocks — Ha. Hillyard 2, He. Hillyard, J. Holsteen. Team — 4.

Digs — R. Holsteen 17, Heater 15, J. Holsteen 10, Eberhardt 6, Woodruff 4, He. Hillyard 2, Siegle 2. Team — 56.

Davis County Statistics

Serving — Lauren Lynch 10-11, Janel Fenton 9-9, Rylee Eakins 8-9, Shelby Graves 8-9, Kate Birchmier 6-7, Megan Joos 6-7. Team 47-52. Aces — Eakins 3, Graves, Lynch. Team — 5.

Hitting — Joos 39-43, Birchmier 18-18, Eakins 15-24, Lynch 8-10, Fenton 5-5, Graves 3-4, Blair Bodkins 2-2. Team 90-106. Kills — Joos 9, Eakins 7, Birchmier 4, Lynch 4, Graves 2, Fenton. Team — 27.

Setting — Graves 22, Caden Dixon, Fenton, Cami Guiter. Team — 25.

Blocks — Eakins, Graves. Team — 2.

Digs — Lynch 13, Bodkins 7, Graves 7, Joos 7, Eakins 5, Fenton 4, Connor Wilfawn 3, Birchmier 2. Team — 48.

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