Maquoketa Valley, 2019 Tri-Rivers Conference regular-season champion, showed it is poised to make a run at a second consecutive title, sweeping Class 1A No. 13 Edgewood-Colesburg, 3-0, in Edgewood, Sept.17.

The Wildcats were in control all the way, converting 71-of-72 serves, and keeping Ed-Co on its heels defensively the entire match. Coach Brandy Whittenbaugh’s veteran crew hit .329 on the night, while the Vikings struggled to get in system and committed 20 hitting errors on the way to a .114 hitting efficiency.

“I am extremely happy with the effort put forth by our girls. Every girl stepped up and played a part in the victory,” said Whittenbaugh. “We had very few offensive errors which always helps when you can keep a team on defense all night. Only one serving error was also a huge benefit for us.”

The Wildcats set the tone with a 25-8 win in set one. A pair of kills by Kelsey Hansel had Ed-Co on top early, 3-2, but an 11-serve run by Emerson Whittenbaugh staked MV to a 13-4 lead. Kylie Chesnut’s four kills and a pair from Payton Beaman fueled the offense.

A service ace from Avery Krapfl extended the advantage to 17-4. Another kill from Hansel and two from Ellie Bockenstedt narrowed the lead to 18-7, but the Wildcats cruised the rest of the way to take a one-set lead.

Set two was more competitive, as MV led only 8-6 early, but Chesnut and Beaman scores stretched the gap to 11-6. Annie Hoffman’s kill got the Vikings within three at 12-9, but three kills from Whittenbaugh made it 15-10. Two kills from Hansel and a Bockenstedt block powered an Ed-Co run that narrowed things to 18-15, but a block from Krista Ries slowed the momentum. Whittenbaugh’s three kills ended the set at 25-17.

Ed-Co got off to a good start in the third, and Hoffman’s ace had the Vikings up 5-3. Chesnut’s three scores from the middle pushed the Wildcats to a 7-1 run and a 10-6 lead. Hansel got the Vikings within three, but a series of Ed-Co errors allowed the Wildcats to go up 14-8.

A 7-2 run of its own, with Olivia Welsh and Bockenstedt getting kills and Hoffman scoring on a block and a serving ace, had Ed-Co within one at 16-15. But the Wildcats exploded with another big run — this one 9-1 — as kills from Chesnut, a block from Ries, plus a series of hitting errors from the Vikings ended the set 25-16.

“I was extremely happy with the aggressive net play of Kylie Chesnut and Payton Beaman,” said coach Whittenbaugh. “Krista Ries had some timely blocks when needed to stop any run they may have had.

“Defensively we were led by Ella Imler and Emerson Whittenbaugh,” she added. “They made key plays all night long keeping rallies alive. These two continue to show great leadership.”

“With several players stepping into new roles the last few days, it has challenged individuals and the team to step up and make adjustments,” said Ed-Co coach Eileen Bergan. “My lone senior, Olivia Welsh, has been very impressive in keeping the team grounded and encouraging the young players.”

Maquoketa Valley’s leaders were: assists — Carissa Sabers 24, Molly Anderegg one; kills — Chesnut 11, Whittenbaugh 10, Beaman nine, Sabers three, Anderegg two; digs — Whittenbaugh 12, Imler 10, Chesnut eight, Sabers seven, Beaman five, Krapfl three, Amaya Hunt one; blocks — Ries and Sabers two, Beaman one; serving — Whittenbaugh 20-of-20, Krapfl 13-of-13, Sabers 12-of-12, Beaman 8-of-8, Imler 5-of-5, Chesnut 13-of-14; ace serves — Whittenbaugh three, Chesnut, Beaman and Krapfl one; team serving — 71-of-72 (98.6%); team hitting efficiency — 35 kills in 79 attacks with nine errors (.329).

Ed-Co’s leaders were: assists — Reagan Stelken 25, Bockenstedt one; kills — Hansel 12, Bockenstedt eight, Hoffman four, Welsh three, Stelken and Marin Gaul one; digs — Hansel eight, Hoffman six, Bockenstedt five, Campbell Kirby, Stelken and Gaul four, Welsh two, Kenzie Barnhart one; serving — Gaul 6-of-6, Welsh 5-of-5, Hansel 7-of-8, Stelken 6-of-7, Kirby 5-of-6, Hoffman 8-of-10; ace serves — Hoffman two; team serving — 37-of-42 (88.1%); team hitting efficiency — 29 kills in 79 attacks (.114).