Kuemper Volleyball State Runner-Up

(Cedar Rapids) -- The Kuemper Catholic volleyball team's attempt to defend its state title came up just a little short.

The Knights (37-5) were swept in the Class 3A State Championship game Friday against Mount Vernon 25-11, 25-18, 25-14.

"They serve very aggressive," said Head Coach Keith Stickrod. "They came out and served nice. I thought we could control it a little bit, but we just got into some trouble and just lost our confidence in the first set. We went through the rest of the match like that. They took care of business, and it wasn't our day today."

Kara Peter -- who had over 30 kills in Kuemper's first two matches at the tournament -- was held to just nine winners on 27 swings. Mariah Naberhaus finished with 15 assists, as the Knights were held to .010 hitting for the match.

"They just kept stressing our serve receive," said Stickrod. "They had our setters running around a little bit too much. It's just about ball control. We didn't have that today. You have to come out swinging and we failed at points."

"I am so proud of how we played this season," said Peter. "All of the younger girls -- we didn't have many returners -- stepped up and got us to where we are today."

Mount Vernon was led by 14 kills by Lauren Schrock in the win. The Knights finish as the runner-up in Class 3A one season removed from a state championship team that featured eight seniors.

"I told them at the beginning of the year that 3A was open for anybody," said Stickrod. "You just had to come out playing your best every set of every match. Today shows that we had a great run all season long, and we were playing our best. Today just wasn't our best game. Mount Vernon had an awesome day."

Find a full interview with Stickrod and Peter below.

Peter was named captain on the Class 3A All-Tournament team, while teammate Anna Niehaus joined her. Red Oak's Chloe Johnson was also named a member of the team.

STATE VOLLEYBALL SCOREBOARD

Class 5A

Cedar Falls 14-26-25-25 West Des Moines Valley 25-24-15-22

Class 4A

Sergeant Bluff-Luton 25-25-25 Western Dubuque 20-14-18

Class 3A

Mount Vernon 25-25-25 Kuemper Catholic 11-18-14