CEDAR RAPIDS – The Sidney Cowgirls are state champions.
Sidney beat Wapsie Valley 3-1 in the Class 1A state championship match, Friday, Nov. 15 at the U.S. Cellular Center to win the program’s first state title. Set scores were 25-17, 23-25, 25-12 and 25-23.
“I’m so happy,” senior Presley Brumbaugh said after the mach. “I have never experienced something so amazing.”
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” added senior Olivia Larsen. “We wanted it all year long and we finally got it.”
Kelsey Hobbie was named the captain of the Class 1A All-Tournament Team. Maddy Duncan and Larsen were also named to the team.
“That’s been my dream,” Hobbie added on being captain. “Last year I was all-tournament team, but not the captain. It feels great to be captain.”
The Cowgirls pulled away late in a close deciding set. A 3-0 run gave the Cowgirls a 20-17 lead. The Cowgirls extended the lead to 24-18 and it looked like they were on their way, but Wapsie Valley erased five championship points before the Cowgirls finished it off at 25-23 to start the celebration.
“It’s super exciting,” Sidney coach Amy McClintock said about winning a title. “It was top to bottom. Everyone played well, even the bench played a role, they get pounded on every day in practice, defense and passing are the key and that’s what we did well."
The Cowgirls started slowly, falling behind 4-1. Sidney scored the next six, though, with three kills from Hobbie and extended the lead to 11-6 leading to a Warrior timeout. Wapsie Valley pulled within 15-13, but the Cowgirls scored six of the next seven to pull away and take the 1-0 lead.
Sidney jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the second set. A kill from Hobbie pushed the lead to 16-8, but the Warriors scored the next seven and would take the lead for the first time at 19-18. Sidney never could get back in front as Wapsie Valley evened the match.
“We went out in the hall and talked about regaining our focus,” McClintock said after the second set. “I think some of that set we weren’t passing the greatest. We want to keep the ball moving and we just said we got to finish and stay together and that’s what we did.”
Sidney used a 7-0 run to put the third set out of reach at 17-6. The Warriors never threatened from there.
Duncan was fantastic, leading the Cowgirls with 17 kills. She praised her teammates.
“Offensively it was Olivia’s sets,” said Duncan, “so props to her for everything. They key on Kelsey and that opens things up for me.”
Video interviews with all four seniors can be seen on the Valley News Sports Facebook page.
Hobbie added 15 kills for the Cowgirls. Paige Smith added nine while Brumbaugh had eight. Harley Spurlock added five.
Six of the seven Cowgirls that played finished with double digit digs, led by Smith’s 24. Lily Johnson added 19, Duncan had 17, Larsen 15, Hobbie 13 and Brumbaugh 10.
The championship comes four years after the Cowgirls advanced to the title game and lost to Janesville. That match happened when this senior group was in eighth grade. The current seniors were there as spectators and watched the four-set loss to Janesville. They made state all four years and ended on top.
“They have all played since they were younger kids,” McClintock said on the seniors. “We got videos all week from the community and from the elementary kids. The younger girls look up to them and want to be part of that as well. We didn’t focus on being number one (all year), but on playing one game at a time and we came in and finished.”
Sidney’s season ends with a 38-6 record and a state title.