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Western Christian escapes in 2A semifinals

Wolfpack overcomes 9-point deficit in one game, 3 set points in another

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CEDAR RAPIDS -- For Grundy Center, this was the big upset that got away.

Top-ranked Western Christian wiggled off the hook in the second and third games, and escaped with a four-set win over No. 4 Grundy Center in a Class 2A semifinal at the state volleyball tournament Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.

Scores were 24-26, 26-24, 26-24 and 25-18.

"We just kept plugging away," said Western Christian junior Kim Kroeze. "We didn't want to lose, and we played with our hearts."

The defending-champion Wolfpack (49-1) fought back from an early nine-point deficit in Game 2, then erased three set points in Game 3 and extended their winning streak to 56 matches against Iowa competition.

They'll face No. 3 Dike-New Hartford (43-3) for the 2A crown at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Western Christian is chasing its 14th title, and its ninth in 11 years.

Grundy Center (42-2), meanwhile, was pondering what might have been.

"We took our foot off the pedal and went into cruise control," said Grundy Center's Samantha Meyers, who led all attackers with 18 kills. "We just didn't finish the games."

Midway through the second set, the Spartans were in control. They had rallied from a 24-23 deficit to take the opener, then shot to a 12-3 lead in the following game.

"The first game kind of ticked us off," said Western's Brooke Wolterstorff. "When you're behind, you have to side-out as fast as you can. Side-out and push, and never give up."

The Wolfpack rallied to tie it at 21-21, then took leads of 23-22, 24-23 and 25-24 before 6-foot-5 sophomore Haley Moss pounded down the game-winning kill.

Grundy Center let another opportunity get away in Game 3. The Spartans held a 24-21 advantage before Western scored the final five points. Kroeze capped it off with a kill for set point and a block for the game.

Western rolled in Game 4.

Four Western hitters racked up double-figure kills. Jade Schaap led the way with 15, followed by Kroeze and Wolterstorff (12 apiece) and Moss (11). Jamie Gesink collected 45 assists.

Meghan Krausman added 14 kills for the Spartans.

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