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Van De Wiele, Bulldogs sweep Blue Devils
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Van De Wiele, Bulldogs sweep Blue Devils

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Izzy Van De Wiele is hard to miss. She is often the tallest player on the volleyball court at 6-foot-4. She also has her hair dyed blue.

Davenport Central didn't have a solution to slow down the Bettendorf junior middle hitter Monday night.

Van De Wiele recorded 10 kills and a match-high five blocks as Bettendorf swept Central 25-19, 25-15, 25-21 at Central's George Marshall Gymnasium.

"Being tall isn't something you can teach," Van De Wiele said. "I've been naturally blessed with it, so I try and use it to my advantage."

Van De Wiele leads the Mississippi Athletic Conference in total blocks this season with 71. She also is first on Bettendorf's squad in kills.

Her prowess at the net and Bettendorf's back row of libero Chloe Bell, Olivia Wiley and Faith Furness made it difficult on Central's offense.

"Quite a few times when the ball would go off the block, most players come back down on the ground and have to jump back up to hit it," Bettendorf coach Mike Grannen said. "Izzy comes back on the ground and her hands are still over the net.

"She's really started to grow into the position."

As for the hair color?

"I just think it is really fun to change it up," she said.

Van De Wiele had plenty of help from her teammates.

Outside hitters Tyler Ramstack and Kaytlin Sowards had 11 and eight kills, respectively. Dalaney Yeggy and Ellie Erpelding facilitated the offense with 32 assists.

The Bulldogs (15-13, 6-3 MAC) scored seven of the last eight points to snatch the opening set. They tallied seven of the first 10 points in set two.

In the third set, Bettendorf rallied from a 16-10 hole to finish off the sweep.

"This was a pretty big win because it was our last game in the regular season," Van De Wiele said. "It was a good way to end it.

"We just have really good team chemistry here. At the beginning of the season, we got along but we didn't know each other that well. We know each other now and it is really fun to play with each other."

Grannen, in particular, was excited about his team's defense. Bell had a team-high 15 digs and Wiley finished with seven.

"We knew Central had some big middle hitters," Grannen said, "but we made it tough for them to put anything on the ground against us. I was really happy with our back court play."

The Bulldogs also were aggressive from the service line. They finished with eight service aces and had the Blue Devils (9-13, 4-4) out of system frequently.

"That gave us an easier first ball and we were able to execute our offense better," said Grannen, whose team is off until playing Iowa City West in a Class 5A regional semifinal on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Central closes the regular season Thursday against Davenport West. A win and the Blue Devils can secure at least a tie for fifth place in the league.

Morgan Barker paced Central with seven kills. Noelle Smith had three blocks.

"We'd get in a hole, dig ourselves back out and then dig a little bit of a hole again," Central coach Laura Guttmann said. "It was hard for us to stay up in the match. A lot of it tonight was a mental game.

"We're still making progress and I'm really proud of the team we do have here. We'll hit our weaknesses hard in practice and hopefully come out stronger in our next match."


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Sports Editor

Sports editor, with my emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 21 years, the last nine at the Q-C Times.

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