It’s hard to imagine starting out the Albia volleyball season any better after the Dees beat 2018 Class 1A state qualifier and seventh ranked Montezuma four out of five games in pool play and in the title match to win the Albia Tournament Monday night.

The Dees met the Braves in the first round of pool play and posted 21-18 and 21-16 victories.

In the second round the Dees beat Southeast Warren 21-13, 21-10 and earned the championship match with a 21-10, 21-14 victory over North Mahaska.

After losing to Albia in the first round Montezuma beat Moravia 21-18, 21-11 and Southeast Warren 21-15, 21-15 to make the finals against Albia.

North Mahaska beat Moravia 21-11, 21-17 in the first round of pool play, beat Seymour 21-9, 21-15 in the second round and lost to Montezuma 21-15, 21-15 in the third round.

SE Warren beat Seymour 21-17, 21-11 in the first round, lost to Albia in the second round and lost to Montezuma in the third round.

Moravia and Seymour entered the third round without game wins and the cross county rivals went to three-game set with Seymour winning 22-20, 14-21 and 15-9.

The two teams met again in the fifth place match with Moravia winning 21-18, 13-21, 15-8.

Southeast Warren topped North Mahaska in the third place match 22-10, 12-21, 15-11.

Championship match

After losing its first two games in pool play to Albia, the Braves got better with every match and were a better team in meeting Albia in the championship.

The Lady Dees got off on the right foot in the opening set of the championship as Alex Beard served an ace for the first point but Montazuma quickly tied the score with a block. After a bad serve by the Bravettes made it 2-2, Albia went on a three-point surge and held that margin until at 7-4 Montezuma gained momentum to tie the score at 9-9. The teams battled with no more than a point difference until Montezuma took a 16-15 lead. A serve into the net cost Montezuma the lead at 17-17 and Albia went on a 4-1 run fueled by outside hitter Ellie Spurgin’s three kills to win the set 21-18.

In the second set Beard led Albia to a 3-0 start from the service line and the Lady Dees were able to maintain the margin until in mid set the Bravettes won three points straight to tie the score at 10-10. Montezuma surged ahead to take a 11-14 lead. After a timeout Albia edged closer and after a disputed call and an ace serve by Jenna Gronewold, the Lady Dees took a 16-14 lead. As in the first game a bad serve led to a run but this time by the Bravettes and the long kill attempt gave Montezuma the win 21-19.

The final set for the championship was to 15 and Albia dominated. Montezuma began the set with two long serves that led to a 5-1 run to start the game. The Lady Dees never looked back as Spurgin was able to hit two ace serves and Abbey Griffin hit powerful kills to build an 11-4 advantage. Albia road that margin to a 15-8 win, and the championship.

The Dees were able to take the first game 21-19 after trailing 17-16. Abbey Griffin had a kill to stop the Montezuma run and then Ellie Spurgin had three straight kills to get the Dees the victory.

In the second game it was Montezuma that rallied after trailing 16-14. The Braves won set two, 21-19 forcing a winner-take-all 15-point third set.

Griffin was dominant at the net while Alex Beard and freshman Ashley Beary had ace serves to let Albia open up a 6-1 lead. Griffin had straight kills to give Albia an 11-4 lead and the Dees exchanged points with Montezuma to earn a 15-8 set victory.

The Lady Dees varsity heads to Fairfield on Thursday for another tournament to face the Lady Trojans, EBF, and Hillcrest Academy (formerly Iowa Menonite) in the Fairfield Tournament before returning home on Tuesday to play a freshmen/JV and varsity contest against

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