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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa | Corrina Timmermans was only a baby when Unity Christian made its last appearance in the 2A state volleyball finals.

Her mother wasn’t coaching when Unity Christian, then coached by Janna (Bouma) Van Donge faced Western Christian in a five-game thriller back in 2001. Patty Timmermans was raising a young family, Corrina the youngest.

“2001 … that’s the year Corrina was born,” said Coach Timmermans, whose fourth-seeded Unity Christian squad advanced to the 2A state finals and Friday afternoon’s 4:45 match-up against Western Christian following a 25-21, 20-25, 25-18, 25-18 win over top-seeded Dyersville Beckman Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.

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Iowa State Volleyball Class 2A Western Christian vs. Sidney
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Iowa State Volleyball Gehlen vs. Holy Trinity
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Corrina Timmerman provided 24 kills, 11 digs and one solo block for Unity Christian (32-6). Jori Bronner supplied 19 kills, 19 digs, two aces, one solo block and one block assist for a program which ranks sixth all-time with 20 state appearances and fifth with five state championships, all coached by Wayne Westenberg, now an assistant for Coach Kyle Van Den Bosch’s Northwestern College program.

“I was at home with a 5, 3 and a 1-year old,” said Coach Timmermans, Dordt College’s head coach from 1994 to 1996. “I wasn’t involved in the life of volleyball too much other than listening on the radio and watching on TV. I was not coaching at all. I was a stay-at-home mom with three kids for eight years.”

Now, look where life has taken the former Patty Boer, who played volleyball at Western Christian back in the mid-1980s. She has guided each of her last five teams to the 2A state tournament. Thursday afternoon’s match marked the second time in the last three years she took a team to the semifinals.

Setter Erin Wieringa provided 48 assists, nine digs, two solo blocks and one block assist for the War Eagle Conference champions. She’s a good friend of Western Christian outside hitter Chandler Schemper, who on the other side of the USCC, recorded eight kills in a three-game sweep over Sidney in the other 2A semifinal.

“I went to grade school, pre-school through eighth grade with most of those (Western Christian) girls,” said Wieringa. “We go to church together. It’s really fun to talk to them. We are good friends off the court, but on the court, we have to be focused.

“It’s a mind-set game. We have to put it away. We know their team from everything. We know how they play, who their go-to players are. We know how to defend them and they know how to defend us.”

The state title matchup between Sioux County neighbor schools, roughly 20 miles apart, nearly didn’t materialize. Heather Boeckenstedt delivered 19 kills for Dyersville Beckman (44-4), which following its Game 2 victory, jumped off to a 7-1 Game 3 start.

Bronner went on a five-point service run to tie the game 7-7. Timmermans snapped a 9-all tie with a kill, while Danielle Kruse added a block and from there, Unity never trailed as the set finished.

“Today was a tougher day,” said Timmermans. “I think there’s more opportunities in a tougher game to put it away more at the net. You want to mix things up at the net. You don’t always want to swing with a ton of power. You want to put in some roll shots. When we pass well we can set it up and everyone’s ready to put it away at the net.”

A Dordt College recruit, Timmermans picked up her 25th double-digit kill effort of the season after being “limited” to eight in Wednesday’s first-round sweep over Dike-New Hartford.

“We just needed to serve tougher, keep them out of system more and we needed to be on offense more than defense,” said Coach Timmermans. “For a while in the beginning of set three, we were not passing well. It was them coming at us with balls instead of us coming at them. Once we got our passes in Erin’s hands better, we got the sets to our hitters, then we started to take over at the net.”

Back in 2001, the Knights were led by Jill Bouma, who won Elite all-state honors. Her older sister, Janna (Bouma) Van Donge served as the squad’s head coach.

Westenberg guided the Knights to Class 1A titles in 1990 and 1993, back when it was a two-class state tournament. He also won 2A state tournaments in 1996, 1997 and 2000.

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