After roaring through pool play at the Shirley Ryan Invitational at Mount Vernon Sept. 4, the Beckman volleyball team fell in the finals to top-ranked Dike-New Hartford to claim second overall. The Wolverines won 25-21, 25-13.
The Blazers began the day with a 21-12, 21-10 victory over Tipton and followed that with wins over Grundy Center, 21-20, 21-17 and Iowa City West, 21-9, 21-18, to advance to the quarterfinals against Waverly-Shell Rock for a 25-21, 25-23 win. They followed with a two-game win over Davenport Assumption in the semis, 27-25, 25-14.
Coach Todd Troutman added, “We began with Tipton, the only unranked team we would face all day. We did a very nice job of controlling the match for the win. After that was 2A No. 10-ranked Grundy Center, a very good team that took us out of our game a bit with their short service game. When we started handling the short serve, we got comfortable in our offense for another 2-0 victory.
“Our final pool play match was against 5A No. 9-ranked Iowa City West. To win that match gave us a more favorable draw for the championship bracket but we needed an upset. The girls came out more focused than I have seen them all year and took a commanding lead for a 21-9 victory. That got West’s attention and they came out much tougher in game two but we continued our solid play for the win.
“In the quarters, we played Class 4A No. 6-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock. They play a defense we don’t see a lot and their passing was really good. This was a very competitive match with both teams playing well. We were able to sustain a high level of play throughout and come away with a very hard-fought victory.
“In the semis, we faced Davenport Assumption, 3A No. 3-ranked and had a back-and-forth game one with extremely high levels of play. We were able to make a few more plays than they did and come away with a 27-25 win. Game two we continued playing extremely well and got a more comfortable 25-14 win.
“Then it was 2A No. 1 Dike-New Hartford. I think their closest margin of victory all day was 11 points but our girls came out with the belief we could go point-for-point with them. We did it in game one though they pulled away for a 25-21 win. In game two we struggled passing the ball and had too many unforced errors.
“Looking back, I think we made some big strides, facing five opponents ranked ahead of us and losing only two games all day. We had kids step up all day and do great things. Hopefully, we can carry some of that confidence and momentum into this week’s games. We open WaMaC tourney play at Maquoketa, host Solon and Oelwein Thursday, before traveling to another tough tournament at Iowa City West Saturday where we will face some more Class 5A top-ranked teams in Ankeny and Dowling.”
Beckman’s statisical leader were: serving — Lauren Osterhaus 38-of-38, Leah Wessels 30-of-32, Kiersten Schmitt 48-of-50, Olivia Hogan 44-of-46, Reese Osterhaus 27-of-30, Jenna Lansing 35-of-41; aces — Hogan six, Schmitt four, Lansing three, Wessels two, Reese Osterhaus three, Lauren Osterhaus one; kills — Schmitt 81, Lansing 23, Jami Kruse 25, Shelby Pirc nine, Lauren Osterhaus eight, Wessels seven; blocks — Pirc 10, Kruse seven, Lauren Osterhaus five, Wessels four, Schmitt and Lansing three; digs — Hogan 52, Schmitt 37, Reese Osterhaus 18, Wessels 16, Lansing seven, Mia Maiers six, Pirc and Jami Kruse one; assists — Wessels 130.
The weekend stats put Schmitt at number one in the state in kills with 161 and Wessels number two in assists with 295.