DUBUQUE, Iowa — North Scott had its moments, but the Lancers were unable to sustain any momentum in their Iowa Class 4A regional volleyball championship match against Dubuque Wahlert.
The second-rated Golden Eagles earned a state tournament berth Monday by sweeping the Lancers 25-15, 25-12, 25-17.
“We didn’t come out strong the way we wanted to against a team like Wahlert. It’s tough to play from behind,’’ North Scott senior Alexis Hayes said. “We needed to start fast, but that didn’t happen.’’
Coach Allie Schwiebert sensed some tenseness in her 10th-ranked team as the match began.
Wahlert jumped out to 5-1 and 10-3 leads in the first set, riding the strength and persistent performance of sophomore standout Aliyah Carter to build an early lead.
“We couldn’t get the ball rolling early and Wahlert had a lot to do with that,’’ Schiwebert said. “They’re a big hitting team and Aliyah Carter challenged us with her hitting all night. When we did get something going, she answered.’’
The Lancers pulled within 16-9 on a kill by Emma Powell midway through the first set before the Golden Eagles pulled away.
Wahlert seized control early in the second and third sets as well to keep the pressure on North Scott.
The Lancers fell behind 11-3 in the second set and 16-3 in the third set, margins that proved to be too much to overcome.
“In the second set, we were able to get some things going, but they were just too tough,’’ Hayes said. “It was one of those nights when the ball bounced their way.’’
North Scott pulled within 15-8 before a pair of kills by Mykenna Horchak allowed Wahlert to pull away to win the second set.
In the third, a kill by Hayes ended a 12-1 run by the Golden Eagles (19-9) and after a pair of kills by Emma Powell, the Lancers found themselves within 18-11 before Wahlert pulled away to finish off the sweep.
“It was a tough way to end, not the way we wanted it to end, but we fought to the finish,’’ Hayes said. “We put North Scott volleyball back on the map this year.’’
With three sophomores and an equal number of seniors in the lineup Monday, Schwiebert believes the experience the Lancers gained against a tourney-tested opponent in a high-stakes match can only help North Scott in the future.
“To be on this big of a stage, to see what it takes to get to that next level, there is a lot that we can learn from that will help us the next time we find ourselves in this situation,’’ Schwiebert said. “It’s tough right now, but our team accomplished a lot that will help us later.’’