Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
WD Wins Top 10 Volleyball Showdown
MOUNT VERNON If Brett Mather coached basketball instead of volleyball, you'd be seeing a full-court press, baseline to baseline.
"Darn right," he said. "I wouldn't know any other way."
Class 4A fifth-ranked West Delaware won a big volleyball match Tuesday, earning the right to play a bigger one next week. The Hawks swept 3A No. 7 Mount Vernon, 25-14, 25-20, 25-22, in a Wamac Conference East Division encounter at Mount Vernon High School.
West Delaware (25-3 overall, 5-0 Wamac East) won its 15th consecutive match, putting its foot to the pedal, the pedal to the floor.
"I appreciate the way they play," said Mustangs Coach Maggie Willems. "I love the discipline they have and the way they play defense. They're the fastest team we've played against."
The Wamac East race heads to a climactic final series next week. Mount Vernon (12-5, 5-1) hosts 4A No. 2 Solon (16-1, 5-0) on Tuesday, then the Hawks host the Spartans in a potential winner-take-all match two days later.
"The thought tonight was to come in here, play our best, pass this test, then get on to the next one," said Hawks setter Carlee Ketchum. "We played with a lot of energy, and our defense is coming along."
As if that's anything new. Under Mather, West Delaware has been renowned for its floor defense for years.
To beat the Hawks, you have to beat them. Because they rarely beat themselves.
"We want to press tempo," Mather said. "Speed and discipline is something in which we pride ourselves."
In each set, West Delaware had the final push at the end.
The Hawks scored the final seven points to break open a competitive first game, then scored six in a row at the end of the second to erase a 20-19 deficit.
Addison Brooks posted two blocks and a kill in the pivotal stretch, and Paige Soppe added a pair of kills.
Mount Vernon ralled from a four-point deficit to square the final set at 19-all, but West Delaware answered with a 6-3 push to conclude the sweep.
Brooks' fourth block was match point.
Haley Morrison led the Hawks with 11 kills. Soppe added nine, Bridget Hoffmann seven. Ketchum collected 29 assists and converted all 26 of her serves, including five aces.
Three freshmen saw significant playing time for Mount Vernon, and one of them Wynne Vandersall had a team-high seven kills. Emma Cochrane and Hannah Whitley added six apiece, and Morgan Melchert collected 24 assists.