ELDRIDGE — The Fairfield volleyball team played with nothing to lose.
Third-ranked North Scott played like a team hungry to return to state.
The Lancers are one step away from returning to the 4A tournament after sweeping the Trojans 25-8, 25-13 and 25-8 at The Pit on Thursday. North Scott (21-4) will take on Burlington (18-7) on Tuesday for a trip to Cedar Rapids while Fairfield ends the season with a final 12-22 record, including eight wins in the final 14 matches of the season.
North Scott junior Ella McLaughlin led the Lancers with 12 kills and two aces. Fairfield fell behind 11-2 in the opening set after North Scott scored eight unanswered points, but fought early in the second set with the Lancers getting as close as 11-10 before a 14-3 run put North Scott ahead 2-0 in the match.
Fairfield led the third set 2-0 and had a 4-4 tie before the Lancers rolled. Grace Graham had eight kills with two aces and 15 digs for North Scott. Nora Ralfs (18 assists) and Katherine Belken (two aces) combined for 32 assists.
Olivia Jones was a perfect 8-8 serving while Maddie Jones was 5-5 serving for the Trojans. Anna Dunlap record a team-leading four kills on 10-11 hitting, Macy Rayburn was 14-15 attacking with a pair of kills while Olivia Jones added two kills for Fairfield while going 7-8 attacking.
Brynley Allison recorded six assists for Fairfield while Maddie Jones finished with four. Mallory Lyon had four blocks for the Trojans, one more than Rayburn and Olivia Jones while Kiya Robertson added a team-leading seven digs. Allison and Olivia Jones each finished with six digs in the loss.
"The girls peaked at the right time of year," Fairfield head volleyball coach Diane Drish said of her team. "It's always hard for a season to end, however going out playing hard and aggressive is what you ask for."