ELDRIDGE — When school dismissed for the summer in early June, North Scott's volleyball program was still without a volleyball coach.

Activities director Jason Schroeder was losing sleep.

With no teaching positions available in the district, Schroeder was running out of options with the season starting in just more than two months.

That's when Taryn VanEarwage entered the mix.

The 22-year-old, who graduated from Augustana College in May, saw the opening and applied.

"I put myself out there and wanted to see where it would take me," VanEarwage said.

North Scott offered her the position.

VanEarwage accepted the job on a Monday night in June and was running a North Scott kids camp at 7 a.m. the next day.

"This is what I've dreamed of," VanEarwage said. "My friends would always ask, 'What do you want to do?' I always told them I want to coach volleyball.

"Getting this job right out of college is super crazy but so much fun."

The Lancers have had no trouble adjusting to VanEarwage. They are ranked eighth in Class 4A and 9-1 heading into Tuesday's night Mississippi Athletic Conference match at Bettendorf.

VanEarwage was a volleyball standout at Rock Island before becoming a four-year letterwinner at Augustana.

She was the Vikings' co-MVP last season, a second team all-conference selection and finished her career among the top 10 in school history for digs (1,354).

A degree in business management, VanEarwage had no head coaching experience but wasn't completely new to the profession. She was an assistant coach for the Augustana men's volleyball team last spring and has worked with the Iowa Select club program.

VanEarwage has leaned on others in the infant stages of her head coaching career.

Assistant coach Sarah Graham, sophomore head coach Jessica Middendorf and Schroeder have eased the transition.

"I'm learning along the way, no doubt," said VanEarwage, who is substitute teaching in the district this fall.

The Lancers have a blend of youth and experience. They play four sophomores but also have seven seniors and seven juniors on the roster.

"This group had a vision of where they wanted to go this season," VanEarwage said. "That's helped because I'm not always the one having to enforce that. We have seven seniors pushing for the same goal.

"Seriously, I couldn't have been blessed with a better group of girls."

State-bound swimmers: Bettendorf swimmers Arianna Ottavianelli and Sami Roemer already have met the state-qualifying standard in multiple events this fall.

Ottavianelli, a senior, has Iowa's top time in the 100 breaststroke (1 minute, 7.43 seconds). She's also met the state cutoff time in the 50 freestyle (24.69) and 200 individual medley (2:12.00).

Roemer, a senior, has qualified in the 100 backstroke (58.75) and 200 IM (2:11.08).

Pleasant Valley sophomore Taylor Buhr is just behind Ottavianelli in the 100 breaststroke at 1:07.82. Buhr has qualified for state.

Unofficial tournament win: The Class 3A third-ranked West Liberty volleyball team recorded a perfect record and went home with a plaque Saturday commemorating themselves as the champions of the Muscatine Invitational.

The victories, however, won't count toward the Comets' season record.

Because of a scheduling snafu with the officiating crew, all the results from the tournament were deemed unofficial. Muscatine coach Tim Martin told the Muscatine Journal it was "miscommunication." Matches were officiated by coaches whose teams weren't playing during the round-robin event.

West Liberty beat Central DeWitt, Mediapolis, Williamsburg, Burlington and Muscatine in the day-long event.

Tiger tough: Tipton's volleyball team graduated a large senior class from its state runner-up team last season. Still, there has been no drop-off.

In a loaded field Saturday at the Mount Vernon Invitational, 3A second-ranked Tipton finished second. It beat 2A third-ranked Dyersville Beckman and 4A top-ranked Dubuque Wahlert en route to the finals.

Tipton (10-1) lost to 4A seventh-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock in the finals.

Utah recruit Sommer Daniels had 49 kills in 14 sets for the Tigers.

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.