WATERLOO — Another tournament, another title for the Cedar Falls High School volleyball team.
The top-ranked and undefeated Tigers (21-0) spent their Saturday in a warm Bob Siddens Gymnasium at Waterloo West and cooled off the competition as they swept the field and claimed the trophy for the annual Eileen Beninga Invitational.
Cedar Falls defeated Class 5A’s 10th-ranked Pleasant Valley in the title match, 25-14, 25-13, cementing its hold at the top of Class 5A.
The Tigers have yet to lose a set during the 2018 campaign, but were put to the test a couple times early in the day.
Don Bosco faced Cedar Falls after a tough, three-set loss to Class 1A’s fifth-ranked North Tama and lost a close first set to the Tigers, 21-19. Cedar Falls regrouped and put the Dons down with a decisive 21-10 set two win.
“We have been doing a good job lately eliminating errors,” Tigers coach Matt Johnson said. “Sometimes, though, our play gets away from us and we give away a lot of points like we did today.
“We liked the field in this tournament because we felt we would get some quality matches and we did. We got to see someone different in the title game, but I thought Waterloo West played well today and they took some good swings at us. They are really improved and they definitely play harder now than they have in the past.”
The Wahawks went point-for-point against Cedar Falls during stretches of their semifinal matchup.
West grabbed an early lead and then tied the contest at 4-4 with huge kills from Kaylissa Arndorfer and Jada Draine. The Tigers answered with Emily Clapp blowing through a tall block at the net that started a 7-2 run
Grace Patterson halted the run with a nice kill to get the Wahawks close at 14-8, but Cedar Falls finished the set with an 11-7 run to claim the first round.
The Tigers fought off another West surge in the second set, where Lauren Conrey put home a tapper to make it 15-10, but it got no closer as Cedar Falls finished the win, 25-14.
“I don’t think our girls know how good they are yet,” Wahawks coach Haley Eckerman said. “We definitely can play better but I think it is kind of mental right now. They go up against certain teams and don’t think they should be there. They doubt themselves right now, but hopefully it starts to click and they realize they are a good team.”
The Tigers handled Pleasant Valley with minimal trouble in the title match.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair until Akacia Brown took over with six of the final eight Cedar Falls points, including three monster kills.
“We wanted to come in here and keep our play level where it needs to be,” Brown said. “We saw the teams here and knew we would get into some intense battles. When that happens this team really picks up the energy. We have so many players that can put the ball away, but I really like the call under pressure.”
Brown began the second with a big block to get the Tigers rolling again.
“The more intense the game gets the more I like getting the ball,” Brown said. “We are playing at such a high level right now and no one wants to let up.”
Brown completed the tournament with 31 kills and 13 blocks, while teammates Clapp and Dara Hulstein put down 15 kills each. Kirsten Graves led the team in digs with 39, and Emily Hayes had nine aces along with Brown’s seven.
POOL A — North Tama def. Don Bosco 21-17, 19-21, 20-18, Cedar Falls def. Decorah 21-5, 21-9, North Tama def. Decorah 21-18, 18-21, 15-11, Cedar Falls def. Don Bosco 21-19, 21-10, Don Bosco def. Decorah 21-13, 21-16, Cedar Falls def. North Tama 21-5, 21-9.
POOL B — Wapsie Valley def. Waterloo East 21-6, 21-10, Pleasant Valley def. Waterloo West 16-21, 21-11, 15-9, West def. Wapsie Valley 21-19, 21-13, Pleasant Valley def. East 21-9, 21-12, Pleasant Valley def. Wapsie Valley 21-16, 23-21, West def. East 21-17, 21-14.
SEMIFINALS — Cedar Falls def. Wat. West 25-15, 25-14, Pleasant Valley def. North Tama 25-14, 25-17.
CHAMPIONSHIP — Cedar Falls def. Pleasant Valley 25-14, 25-13.