GEORGE, Iowa | Le Mars Gehlen punched its eighth state tournament ticket in the last nine seasons by out-dueling War Eagle Conference foe Harris-Lake Park 25-27, 25-23, 25-13 in a Class 1A regional final on Tuesday at George-Little Rock High School.
With the match tied at one set apiece, the Jays prevailed 25-23 in a third set that both coaches said may have been the critical point.
“Game three was pivotal,” said Jays coach Mike Meyer. “I was proud of how we came back late in that game. We had struggled to relax until that point, but I think we found it there.”
The contest never featured more than a three-point advantage for either side. The Jays put the game away on consecutive tallies, a kill by junior Katie Peters before a tip that sealed the win.
“Game three we probably had to have,” said Harris-Lake Park coach Daryl Meyer, no relation to the Jays coach. “I think Gehlen’s experience showed in game three.”
Harris-Lake Park used an 11-1 run midway through the second set, then held off a Gehlen rally for a 27-25 victory that evened the match. Sophomore Kilyn Forbes recorded a pair of ace serves to end that contest.
The Jays broke out in front 5-0 in the final set, riding a three-pronged attack of Peters, Sydney Livermore and Krista Lipp, who ended the night with 21, nine and eight kills respectively.
Livermore contributed 28 assists while Chloe Bunkers added 16 digs, seven ace serves and a 31 for 31 performance at the service line.
Taylor Meyer finished with 25 kills and 19 digs for Harris-Lake Park. Blake Gunderson recorded 16 kills and 13 digs, Madison Brevik dished out 34 assists and added 16 digs and Kilyn Forbes logged 12 digs.
The Wolves, playing in their second regional final in the past four years, bow out at 21-12 and graduate just one senior in Gunderson.
“I am so proud of these kids and how hard they worked to get to this point,” said Daryl Meyer. “This was a great learning experience for our kids and the goal now is to improve upon it next year.”
Mike Meyer said that losing on this court in the regional final one year ago likely gave his team the push it needed to return to the state tournament. Gehlen Catholic, ranked number three, improved to 27-6 on the season and awaits its state tournament opponent.
WYNOT 3, ALLEN 2: The Wynot volleyball team rallied to defeat Allen 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 17-15 in the subdistrict D2-4 championship match on Tuesday in Wynot.
Katelyn Heine finished with 14 kills and 25 digs for Wynot (20-7). Julia Eskens recorded 14 kills and Whitney Hochstein added 12. Emersyn Sudbeck dished out 20 assists and Edyn Sudbeck added 18. Noelle Wieselser notched 22 digs.
Allen ends its season at 13-17.
Wynot plays Humphrey St. Francis on Thursday.
EP-J 3, CANTON 0: The second-seeded Elk Point-Jefferson volleyball team swept seventh-seeded Canton 25-10, 25-16, 25-15 in the opening round of the Region 4A tournament here Tuesday.
Carlie Corder recorded eight kills for EP-J (16-11). Kenna Curry and Riley Donnelly both finished with five kills. Karly Marx dished out 21 assists and added 11 digs. Addison Ludwig notched 21 digs, Meghan Brewer tallied 14, Katelyn Chytka had 13 and Ally Nearman added 10.
Abby Neu logged eight digs for Canton (6-18).
EP-J hosts Tea Area in the next round on Thursday.