Henriksen muscatine vb

Annabelle Henriksen hits over the Pleasant Valley block during the second game of Tuesday's Class 5A regional volleyball match in Pleasant Valley.

BETH VAN ZANDT, MUSCATINE JOURNAL

From the first serve to the final point, the Pleasant Valley volleyball team (28-4) never lost control over Tuesday night's Class 5A Region 3 semifinal match at home against Muscatine. 

With the win, the No. 8 Spartans have drawn a home date with Urbandale at 7 p.m. Monday with a trip to state on the line. 

After striking first in each set of a 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 home sweep Tuesday night, the Spartans never surrendered the lead to the Muskies, using a clear size advantage and offensive improvements throughout the night to advance to the regional final.

"I think that we started out really strong," freshman Emily Wood said. "I think we could have used a little more energy, but I think we played as a team and just had fun out there."

Every time Muscatine threatened to take the lead, going on two 4-0 runs in the first set and a 5-0 run in the second game, the Spartans always had an answer.  

As the Mississippi Athletic Conference's leader in kills per set this season at 11.6, Pleasant Valley used a strong offensive attack to put away Muscatine in its first test of the postseason.   

Wood had a match-high 10 kills, twice as many as Muscatine’s leader, Catie Cole, who finished with five. Senior Elissa Moylan added eight and Erica Brohm five, but it all started with efficient and clean passing that continued to improve as the night progressed. 

PV senior Brooke Harris led the Spartans with 26 assists. 

“I thought our passing, once we kind of got that under control, it was definitely a lot better,” Pleasant Valley coach Amber Hall said. “That second set we had a little setback but definitely in that third set our passing was really strong, which then we were able to really run our offense.”

The road to Cedar Rapids gets tougher now for Pleasant Valley, which faces No. 14 Urbandale, a team that just completed its own sweep over No. 12 Indianola on Tuesday night. 

"I think in a big game like that just us kind of keeping our composure," Hall said. "It's just another game, another opportunity to play, not thinking that 'oh my gosh, this is to go to state.' It's more of keeping our calm and our cool and collectiveness under that pressure."

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