(KMAland) -- The 11th week of the 2019-20 sports season is here, and we open it with a Seven Points rundown.
POINT 1-2-3 (for how many sets it takes to win): Regional finals galore
The next two nights of the volleyball season are the most important of the season. Well, at least until next week. Six KMAland conference schools are in action tonight with six more slated to play tomorrow. Here’s a look at the remaining teams and their stories:
No. 1 Sidney (34-6): The Cowgirls have been to four straight state tournaments, including two in Class 1A and two in Class 2A. Now, they’re back in 1A and ranked atop the state thanks to a quartet of seniors and some complementary players stacked around them that have done a tremendous job of replacing seniors Camryn McClintock and Jaden Daffer. You hate to what-if your way around the world, but it’s crazy to think this team could be even better if Makenna Jarosz hadn’t re-torn her ACL in the offseason. Nonetheless, they will meet in old pal – East Mills – for the fifth time this season tomorrow night on KMA-FM 99.1.
No. 2 St. Albert (23-9): The Saintes are back in a regional final and searching for their seventh state tournament appearance in the last nine seasons. This would be the first time in the Class 1A field, and they have a small but mighty group that makes life very difficult on opposing offenses with their scrappiness. Their only losses are to AL (3x), Glenwood, Sidney, Clarinda, Lewis Central, Kuemper Catholic and Red Oak. The who’s who of KMAland volleyball right there. They’ll meet Riverside tomorrow night in a regional final on KMA 960. The only sets they’ve lost to a 1A school came to Sidney back on August 31st.
No. 10 East Mills (25-7): The Wolverines have been to consecutive state tournaments, but they face their toughest test of any tournament trail on Tuesday night. Here’s something they can potentially lean on: It’s very difficult to be a good team five times. And East Mills is a really good team that looked especially good this past Thursday in a sweep of 25-win Southwest Valley. Something else to consider is that the Wolverines have taken three sets off Sidney this year. There were three other sets they could have just as easily won as they lost. Alex Knop is arguably the greatest volleyball player in East Mills history. She’d sure love to finish things in Cedar Rapids for a third straight year.
UR Riverside (26-12): A fantastic season for the Bulldogs, and they are suddenly one win away from their first state tournament in school history. I believe I also read that it is their first regional final, which was preceded by their first regional semifinal. It’s been a year to remember for this team, and they sure would love to keep on extending those memories. This squad has a great mix of seniors, juniors, sophomores and even a few freshmen providing some big contributions. Again, we’ve got this one on KMA 960.
No. 11 Underwood (30-5): There aren’t a lot of teams hotter than the Eagles right now. They’ve won 12 straight and 21 of their last 22. They are built on serious, serious power from the likes of Macy Vanfossan and Zoe Rus, athletic middles in Lauren Brown and Brianna Justsen, a stud setter in Peyton Cook, a complementary hitter in Ashlyn Torneten and complete and utter scrap from all of those mentioned, as well as libero Leslie Morales-Foote, Erin McMains, Allie Robertson and Erica Rowe. I’ve seen this team four times this year, and I know they are state level. They’ll get No. 6 Grundy Center – a prestigious program that has been to 10 state tournaments. The Eagles go for their seventh and first since 2004.
UR Nodaway Valley (20-6): I pretty well predicted this run for the Wolverines back when the regional pairings were released. They’ve been a dominant 6-0 in sets in regional play, and they’ve really done it with a large group of underclassmen. Juniors Corinne Bond, Lexi Shike and Natalie Yonker and sophomores Maddax DeVault and Whitney Lamb. Then there’s seniors McKynli Newbury and Naomi Daugherty that have provided great play. They meet No. 8 Van Buren with one team leaving Knoxville with their first state tournament banner.
No. 2 Kuemper Catholic (34-4): The defending state champions have dealt quite nicely with the loss of a really terrific senior class. They’re led by Kara Peter, who hits, blocks and defends like one of the best all-around players in the state. Anna Niehaus has really upped her game to another level, and libero Mallory Badding is still one of the top odd-colored jersey-wearers in the state. And then around them are a cavalcade of additional complementary hitters, defenders, new setters and more. It’s unranked Humboldt tonight for the Knights, as they go for their 12th state tournament and fifth straight.
No. 3 Red Oak (32-6): The Tigers are back on the door step, and they’re happy to know they won’t have to get through Kuemper to get to Cedar Rapids for the 15th time. The veteran Tigers have a whole host of six-rotation players working within their two-setter offense, and it’s led by senior stalwarts Sophie Walker and Chloe Johnson. No. 11 Des Moines Christian is their last obstacle tonight on KMA-FM 99.1.
No. 1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (33-3): The Missouri River Conference champion just keeps on rolling. Their three losses were to 5A No. 3 WDM Valley, 2A No. 1 Western Christian and 3A No. 2 Kuemper Catholic. All teams that will likely join them in Cedar Rapids and all three were in best two-out-of-three matches. They’re just as powerful as usual with a four-person senior class, just one junior and the next wave in a large sophomore class. They’ll meet Carroll tonight.
No. 6 Lewis Central (28-6): The Titans gave us a little indication of what they can do early in the year with wins over Waukee, Western Dubuque, Ankeny Centennial and Bettendorf. They’ve now matriculated their way into another regional final with hopes of sending a senior class headlined by Megan Witte out on top. LC has been to five state tournaments previously. If they knock off Glenwood tonight (on KMA-FM 99.1), it will be five of the last six in CR.
UR Glenwood (29-12): That’s a school-record 29 wins for the Rams, and they will try to make it 30 when they meet the Titans. It’s a team they played just 20 days ago – a 3-0 loss – but when it comes to sports you never know. And again, it’s tough to beat a very good team multiple times. If Elle (that’s pronounced L) Scarborough and Joslyn Lewis get rolling, the serves stay aggressively in and the middles hit like they did last week, who knows? We could be talking about a first state tournament for the Rams.
No. 5 Abraham Lincoln (36-3): All roads led to this year. The senior class that includes their big four – Elaina Bohnet, Sam Christiansen, Taylan Keefer and Julia Wagoner – has been slowly and surely improving their games and the program over the last four seasons. Katie Darrington also belongs in that mix, as she got the job when they were freshmen. Now, they are one (very tough) win away from a return trip to Cedar Rapids. In AL’s previous 12 trips to the eastern side of the state, they have never been the host of a regional final. They are tonight when former Red Oak star Jess (Phillips) Rinehart brings her Ankeny Centennial outfit into town. While Centennial is just 18-14, I wouldn’t let that fool you. They are the defending state champions and have won four of the last five 5A ‘ships. I’d expect an absolute battle tonight.
POINT 4-5-6 (for the amount of points a touchdown is worth): Our potential Domers
It was so fun doing it with volleyball, let’s do it with football. Your Iowa KMAland teams that remain in state quarterfinals:
Audubon (10-1) – The Wheelers handled business in taking down Harris-Lake Park by four scores this past Friday night. Kaiden Smith was outstanding with three rushing scores, a passing touchdown and even a receiving six-pointer. That’s just another major threat for opposing defenses to worry about. The next defense to worry about it? Well, that’s…
CAM, Anita (8-2): The rematch is set. The Cougars lost 19-16 to Audubon in Week 9 of the regular season, and they’re aiming to get that win back on Friday night. Coach Joe Wollum told me they had four trips to the red zone with zero points if that tells you how close they were to actually winning that game. After a 62-24 win over Lamoni – a win that included 211 yards rushing and five touchdowns from Lane Spieker – CAM is one victory away from their first Dome trip.
Note: Audubon is a slight 3-point favorite in this second meeting between two top six ranked BCMoore teams.
Fremont-Mills (7-1): As we expected, Friday night was not for the faint of heart. The Knights beat Coon Rapids-Bayard 22-6 in a game that saw both star running backs leave with injury. Still, James Switzer and Colton Hauschild combined on 295 yards rushing and all three touchdowns. F-M found a way. Now, is Seth Malcom healthy? Further, is the star of their next opponent (Remsen, St. Mary’s) healthy? Blaine Harpeneau was injured in RSM’s win over East Mills. Obviously, those two being healthy changes things dramatically for either side. BCMoore has RSM as a 12.77-point favorite. Note: This will be on our KMAX-Stream.
Treynor (10-0): What an impressive performance from the Cardinals on Friday. Coach Jeff Casey’s team stuck to their identity, kept pushing and eventually pulled away for a 21-10 win over a really good Western Christian squad. This was one of those wins that probably opened some eyes throughout the state. A lot of talk went into the northern district with Western Christian, West Sioux and West Lyon. Two of them won and will be playing on Friday. The Cardinals, though, took down the other with hopes of doing the same to two-time champ West Sioux this Friday. Treynor – who will be on our KMAX-Stream this week – is an underdog (by 15.30) in this one. But I’ll take the +15.30.
Lewis Central (9-1): The Titans did as expected on Friday night, rolling to a 44-0 win over Oskaloosa. Bryson Bowman was a BEAST with 233 yards rushing and five touchdowns in the victory. Meanwhile, the defense didn’t even allow 75 yards, and LC is right in form as they look for their second straight trip to the UNI Dome when they host DC-G this week. The early look at the BCMoore Rankings shows LC as a 15.81-point favorite.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton (9-1): The Warriors – and Hamburg alum/head coach Justin Smith – have won nine consecutive games since they lost their season-opening game to Lewis Central. And with their latest win over Carlisle, they showed they do have the ability to go punch for punch with a powerful, downhill team. Now, they get a different kind of test against Zach Marker and Norwalk, which came back from a 21-point deficit to beat Glenwood this past Friday. SBL is a 2.62-point favorite in this matchup of Warriors mascots.
By the way, we will have another Connection Show on Friday evening. Along with our coverage of FM/RSM and Treynor/West Sioux on our X-Stream networks, we will also be live from 18 other sites spread throughout Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.
Extra Point: Shouts to the CHAMPS
Along with football and volleyball winding down, the final meet of the cross country season in the state of Iowa went down in Fort Dodge on Saturday. And KMAland won three championships.
Shouts out to Peyton Pogge – the Tri-Center junior – for her undefeated season and state championships. Shouts out to Joshua Baudler – the Nodaway Valley senior – for avenging last year’s very tight loss and winning his own ‘ship. And shouts to the Logan-Magnolia girls for yet another dominant 1A team championship.
Finally, some shouts out to all of the other medalists and qualifiers that made the cross country season such a success in KMAland this year. What a time to be alive.
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