CEDAR RAPIDS – Kelsey Hobbie finished with 17 kills as the top-ranked Sidney Cowgirls easily swept Springville in a Class 1A state quarterfinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13 at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Set scores were 25-15, 25-17 and 25-11.
Sidney moves on to Thursday’s semifinal against North Tama, who swept Gehlen Catholic in the first round.
The experienced Cowgirls with four seniors, who all had at least two years of previous state experience took control of the match immediately against the young Orioles, who play just sophomores and freshmen in their rotation.
“The experience these girls have,” Sidney coach Amy McClintock said. “The seniors have all been here all four years. The thing (Wednesday) was our age and experience and they all treated it like another game.”
Hobbie opened the match with a kill and had four by the time the Cowgirls reached seven points as Sidney jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the opening set. They extended the advantage to 24-10 before needing a sixth match point to finish the set.
The Cowgirls ended with 17 kills as a team in the opening frame with all five attackers in the rotation finishing with at least one.
Sidney scored the first eight points in the second set with Hobbie ending the run with back-to-back kills. Sidney used an additional 8-1 run to extend the lead to 18-4. Springville’s young group started to settle in at the end of the second set, trimming the deficit to as little as seven.
Springville continued to build momentum at the beginning of the third set, scoring the first three points. Sidney wouldn’t trail for long, however, with an ace by Hobbie giving them a 6-5 lead they would never lose. Sidney ended the match on a 16-4 run with Makenna Laumann entering late to serve and finishing with three aces in the final four points.
Hobbie’s 17 kills came with three errors on 25 swings to hit .560 for the match.
“The passes were good and Olivia’s sets were amazing,” said Hobbie, “and my kills went straight down all the time.”
“If you’re playing a team that can’t stop (Hobbie) then we’re good to go,” added McClintock. “Springville is young, and it was our experience that took the game.”
Hobbie was the offensive leader, but the rest of the attack also played well. Maddy Duncan added nine kills and led the back row with 14 digs. Presley Brumbaugh ended with eight kills with Larsen passing 39 assists.
“Everyone worked together,” said Duncan, “and everyone was getting their passes up.”
“We started off strong,” Brumbaugh added on the win. “We had been here a few times and took control. They got into a little more of a groove, but ultimately we pulled through.”
All three hitters credited Larsen on a strong setting night. She said everyone played well.
“Everybody came together, and everyone got a kill,” said Larsen, “and that helps the offense when I can set anybody.”
Video interviews with Larsen, Brumbaugh, Duncan and Hobbie can be found on the Valley News Sports Facebook page.
Paige Smith added nine digs while Larsen and Lily Johnson added eight each for the Cowgirls. McClintock said it was big for athletes like Johnson and Smith, who had none and limited state experience, to step up and have a big night.
“That’s always a question on how they are going to handle the atmosphere,” McClintock said. “They settled in and were pretty calm. The first few points helped a lot and they settled in and played well.”
The Cowgirls hit .319 for the match while the Orioles managed just a .050 hitting percentage. Savannah Nealman, Lauren Wilson and Morgan Nachazel led the Orioles with six kills each. The loss ends Springville’s season at 20-17.
Sidney will play North Tama in a semifinal Thursday.
“I don’t think either team runs a lot of fast stuff like we do,” said McClintock prior to knowing the opponent. “The big thing is knowing where their hitters are going and what’s going to be open on the court. We need to get our (outside hitters) going a little better. Our experience and a lot of the teams we have played along the way have helped us.”
First serve of the semifinal is scheduled for 6 p.m.