For the second time in six years, the Western Dubuque volleyball team has earned a spot in the elite eight of the Class 4A State Volleyball Tournament after the Bobcats dismantled Clinton in three sets (25-16, 25-10, 25-15) to win the Class 4A, Regional 7 final played in Epworth Nov. 4.

“This is such a great accomplishment. From the beginning of the season, this was our goal, the road to Cedar Rapids. We just wanted this so badly,” said Meredith Bahl, one of the three sophomores who start for the Bobcats. “It’s an amazing feeling, but we’re not done yet. Just because we won this match doesn’t mean we’re not going to keep on fighting and practicing hard. We’re just going to keep playing our game. Coach tells us to play every point like it’s state championship point and we have. The past three matches we have been doing that.”

Things have been clicking on the court for the Bobcats (22-13) since they entered the regional tournament and this match was no different. Clinton (13-23) and their student body crew presented a problem for the home team as the River Queens held a 7-4 lead in the first set and closed to within one point at 13-12, but that’s when the Bobcats got rolling on a 12-4 run to take the first set.

In the second set, the two teams were battling for position until the Bobcats took a 12-10 lead when they earned a side out on a service error. Maddie Harris took the ball for Western Dubuque and served out the set winning the next 13 points in a row.

“It’s that composure and that poise that these girls have. They don’t get rattled,” said Megan Scherrman, head coach of the Bobcats. “If there is somebody back there serving when we need points I want it to be her. She does a good job with that.”

The Bobcats did most of their damage at the net as they controlled play there all night long. Meg Besler, Bahl and Harris were swinging away at will and then Kaylee Elgin, Libby Lansing and Madison Maahs made Clinton work for everything they earned as they formed a very fierce block.

“We spent the second half of our season focusing on our side,” said Megan Scherrman, head coach of the Bobcats. “If you’re making errors on your side of the net, you’re not going to be winning any matches. So that’s been our focus and that’s been helping.”

It was all Bobcats in the third set. Clinton did what they could to try to stay with Western Dubuque, but after taking a 5-3 lead on a side out kill by Besler, the Bobcats won 12 of the next 16 points to put the game out of reach, 17-7 and cruised to take the final set 25-15.

“We’re just going to keep working hard. We’re going to get better at everything and we’re going to be ready for Cedar Rapids next week,” said Scherrman. “The last time we went down there we worked hard but we were just happy to be there. This time we’re going to go down there to work to win some games.”

“We’re excited about getting this win,” said Elgin, one of the four seniors on the team. “We practiced so hard and we’re just ready to go down to state and play Bobcat volleyball.”