Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Janesville Volleyball Sweeps Way to State, But Has Larger Goals
By Douglas Miles
CENTER POINT Sure, getting to the state tournament is a thrilling achievement. But Janesville has loftier goals.
The No. 2 Wildcats exhibited near-flawless execution on offense and defense and made quick work of No. 14 IMS last night, advancing to its fourth straight state tournament with a crisp 55-minute sweep, 25-9, 25-10, 25-9, in a Class 1A regional final.
"When we pass the ball and stay in system, our offense is pretty strong and we've got a lot different hitters we can set," Janesville Coach Shelly Sorensen said.
Janesville's power and precision was evident from the start. Setter Brittney Hanson routinely placed the ball in prime position for strong kill attempts, helping the Wildcats turn a 4-3 deficit into a 25-9 rout in the first set.
"She sets the ball up right where we want it," said junior Kendyl Sorge, a Northern Iowa commit. "We have the power to hit it."
Janesville, which opens against Springville, has a roster of mostly tournament-tested juniors and seniors, but 5-10 freshman Gillian Gergen impacted the second game with four kills as Janesville closed on a 14-2 burst.
"I was feeling nervous but I knew I could do it with the help of my teammates and coaches and everyone," said Gergen, who cracked the starting lineup midway through the season.
While the freshman may revel in her first state berth, her teammates are no longer content with just getting there. After a runner-up finish in 2010, Janesville (35-4) was eliminated in the semifinals the past two years. After sweeping four regional matches, the Wildcats feel now is the time.
"Definitely, we want to win it all this year," Sorge said.
IMS ends at 26-10. Senior Olivia Yutzy, who entered fourth in 1A with 4.67 kills per game, had just three in the match.
"Janesville's outstanding. They're a level above what we've seen," IMS Coach Dwight Gingerich said.