Jump on a bus and ride for two hours to take on a team who has won more than twice as many games as they have lost and return a winner. That is exactly what the Albia Lady Dee volleyball team did on Tuesday at Central Lee High School. They were able to pull off a 3-1 upset of the Lady Hawks and continue their post-season journey.
That journey continues to the district final and the game to get to the state tournament in West Burlington where they will meet #4 ranked Davenport Assumption (31-5).
“I just told the girls to have fun,” said Coach Missy Dustin-Cox.
Every set was a grueling, gut-wrenching effort, especially set number one. Alex Beard set the tone with an ace serve to start the contest, but a block got the Lady Hawks on the board.
Central Lee took a 3-1 lead but a kill by Ellie Spurgin sent her to the service line which resulted in a four- point run aided by two ace serves. Albia edged into a 11-6 lead and was able to maintain that margin until the Lady Hawks began to set their middle hitter who put down three consecutive kills, eventually taking an 18-17 advantage.
A net serve tied the game at 18 and consecutive ace serves by Abby Griffin gave Albia a 20-18 lead. Central Lee would not relent and actually had a 23-22 lead, but as the teams scrambled in OT Albia finalloy used an ace serve by Maddy Persons and a frantic volley at the net, only to have Jenna Gronewold punch the ball that barely landed on the other side for a 28-26 win.
The second set was equally contentious. Central Lee began to concentrate on the middle of the net, scored on a block and a kill but a back row spike by Griffin got Albia on the board.
An ace serve by Beard, a kill by Spurgin and a dink by Beard gave Albia a 5-2 lead. The teams traded points until with the score 8-7, Albia went on a 9-2 run highlighted by ace serves by Persons, and two by Griffin.
Albia stretched the lead to 22-12 and though the Lady Hawks ran off five consecutive points toward the end of the set, Albia ended the match with a long volley that finished with a big hit by Griffin claiming a 25-17 victory.
Central Lee used the momentum from the final points in set two to propel them to a win in set three. The Lady Dees got off to a good start using two ace serves by Spurgin and kills by Griffin to mount a 4-1 advantage, only to have an uncharacteristic run of mistakes that put Central Lee in the lead 13-6. Albia managed to cut the deficit to 14-11 but the Lady Hawks’ hitters sent Albia to the other side of the net with a 25-15 loss.
Neither team could gain more than a two-point margin in the fourth set until a kill by freshman Tanae Thiravong, a dink by Beard and a miss hit by the Lady Hawks gave Albia a 14-10 edge. Central Lee fought back to make it 15-14. A major volley with the score 17-14 seemed to be the difference maker. Both teams were scrambling, diving and making great saves but Albia managed to win the point to give them some breathing room. Central Lee made a move later and cut the margin to 22-20 but a back row shot from Griffin made it 23-20. In the final point Beard set Griffin, who responded with a rocket kill to win the set and match.
Individual stats were as follows: Beard hit 25/27 with 10 kills, had 28 assists, 20 digs and one block, served 17/17 with three aces; Griffin hit 57/76 with 19 kills, had five assists, 11 digs, served 14/17 with six aces; Gronewold hit 8/10 with two kills, had two assists and two digs, served 11/11 with one ace; Halle Hindman had two digs, served 3/4; Abbie Martin had one assist and 21 digs, served 9/9; Persons hit 5/7 with one kill, had four assists and 13 digs, served 11/12 with two aces; Spurgin hit 40/43 with 15 kills, had five assists and 15 digs served 20/22 with four aces; and Thiravong hit 5, 13/14 with three kills, had two digs and one block.
Albia evens their record at 17-17 and will travel to West Burlington to play Davenport Assumption on Monday.