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State Volleyball Tournament
Three schools compete

Three diocesan Catholic high schools recently competed in the state volleyball tournament – Kuemper Catholic of Carroll, Gehlen Catholic of Le Mars and Bishop Heelan of Sioux City.

The Gehlen Jays and Heelan Crusaders each made it to the championship match and took home the second place trophies.

The 3A Bishop Heelan Crusaders advanced to the State finals for the 14th year in a row. In the first round, the Crusaders overtook sixth-ranked Charles City. In the semi-finals, Heelan was matched against top rated Wahlert. Not intimidated by Wahlert’s ranking, Heelan took them down in four games.

In the end, Waverly-Shell Rock surpassed the Crusaders and took home the state title. Waverly-Shell Rock defeated Heelan in four close games, 28-26, 25-18, 25-27 and 25-15.

Natalie Vondrak, who has signed to play with Iowa State next year and was selected to be on the all-tournament team, had 24 kills. Madeline Hanno, another all-tournament team selection, had 42 assists.

“I am very proud of our volleyball team.  Finishing second in the state is a great honor but more importantly was the way we represented Bishop Heelan and Sioux City.  Our team represented our school with class, integrity and grit,” said Coach Mary Miller. “We showed everyone what a class act our team is and what high school volleyball should be about.”

On the 1A side, the Le Mars Gehlen Catholic volleyball team also advanced to state. The Lady Jays lost only one game during the regular season.

During the first round of the state tournament, Gehlen beat out ninth ranked East Union in just four games. After last year’s loss in the semi-finals, the Lady Jays weren’t about to stop short for a second year in a row. Gehlen took on sixth ranked Janesville and secured their spot in the state finals.

Competing against Tripoli in the finals proved to be too much for the Lady Jays. Tripoli secured the title by winning the first three games, 25-24, 25-21 and 25-12.

Katelin Langel, an all-tournament team selection, led the Lady Jays with eight kills. Amber Timmins ended up with nine digs and 21 assists. The Lady Jays ended their season with an impressive 35-2 record.

"I was very pleased with the successful season we just completed.  The girls accomplished nearly every single goal they had set, including advancing further in the state tournament.  This was indeed a special team, whose only defeats came at the hands of the Class 1A champs and the Class 3A runner-ups (Bishop Heelan),” said Gehlen Coach Mike Meyer. The Kuemper Catholic Knights also had a great season this year, capped off with a trip to the 2011 State Tournament. They defeated IKM-Manning, East Sac County, Roland Story, and Gilbert to advance to Cedar Rapids.

Western Christian, the number one ranked team, defeated the Knights in the opening round in three games at state. The Knights finished the season 23-9, which included a championship at the Harlan tournament.


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