Knights bow out in state volleyball semifinals
STATE VOLLEYBALL

Knights bow out in state volleyball semifinals

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The flurry never came.

Davenport Assumption's volleyball team has relied on the big run during the postseason. Each time it appeared to have a slight opening Thursday, Solon squelched it.

Nearly 48 hours after compiling the school's first state tournament win, the seventh-ranked Knights were ousted in the Class 4A semifinals by the second-ranked Spartans, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18, at the U.S. Cellular Center.

"We came out with the same intensity in our mind, but I don't think we played with the same intensity," Assumption libero Lexi Flynn said. "It didn't feel the same as (Tuesday, a five-set win over West Delaware).

"We couldn't get going, and we couldn't get on the runs we're used to."

Solon (34-2) returns to the championship match for a second straight season. It'll meet top-ranked Harlan, which survived a five-setter against defending state champion Charles City, at noon today.

In two matches against Solon this season, Assumption dropped all five sets — four decided by four points or less.

"They are very fundamentally sound — run a quick offense, good blockers and good defense," Assumption coach Kyle Condon said. "They're going to be a tough team to beat moving forward."

The Knights (32-7) had a 21-19 edge in the second set, but the Spartans won six of the final seven points to grab a 2-0 lead and virtually deflate Condon's team.

"Winning that second set would have changed everything," Flynn said. "It would have given us confidence, and I think a lot of girls were kind of nervous to be this far in the tournament."

Assumption was even with Solon at 13 in the third set, but the Spartans reeled off eight of the next nine points to ice it.

The Knights committed 11 service miscues and recorded a 0.151 hitting efficiency with 20 attack errors.

"They had a lot of firepower in the front row, but we made a lot more errors today," said setter Haley Resnick, who distributed 29 assists. "We were trying to be aggressive, but I think we were a little too excited, too nervous behind the service line."

Solon was its typical scrappy self. The Spartans registered nine blocks and libero Rylee Smith had a match-high 23 digs.

It was all part of the Spartans' plan in containing Assumption all-stater Danielle Cabel.

"I knew if we could throw up enough blocks on them to keep those rallies going, we could tire them out a little bit because they go to Cabel so much," Solon coach Peter Gustin said. "I told the girls, 'We don't need to stop her, we need to slow her down.'"

Cabel, an Ohio recruit, had a team-high 13 kills but needed 37 swings. Mary Rolf chipped in eight kills.

"We were a little bit timid today," Cabel said.

Still, the season was another step forward for Assumption's program.

The Knights' senior class barely finished above .500 as freshmen. They shared a conference title two years ago and reached the state tournament for the first time last year.

And now it leaves with one state tournament win.

"The hard work really paid off for this group," Condon said. "They made history for Assumption and set the bar high for seasons to come."

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