CEDAR FALLS — Cedar Falls had a pair of goals for its annual Tiger Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday.
First on the list was to win the tournament. Second was doing it in quick fashion so the Tigers could make it to homecoming festivities scheduled for Saturday night.
Top-ranked Cedar Falls was successful on all counts as it danced through pool play easily, then won three matches in bracket play to claim the title in an event that was moved to UNI’s Wellness and Recreation Center.
A 25-12, 25-20 victory over Osage wrapped up the night.
Waterloo West suffered some early morning setbacks, but regained control and captured the championship in the consolation bracket with a 25-16, 25-13 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“We knew it would be a very tough tournament with so many tough teams coming here to play,” said Cedar Falls senior setter Emerson Green. “Honestly, it was also very exciting to play at the WRS building because everyone is so close to the action and it gets very intense. It kind of gives you extra energy, plus it was homecoming weekend.”
The Tigers had little difficulty in pool play as they walked away with victories of 21-3, 21-13 over Charles City, 21-7, 21-15 over Janesville and 21-5, 21-8 over Fort Dodge.
In the championship bracket, top-seeded Cedar Falls quickly eliminated Des Moines Roosevelt 25-11, 25-11 before things got a little tougher against No. 5-ranked West Des Moines Dowling in the semifinals.
The Tigers came up with a big seven-point run, for a 20-13 lead, then held off the Maroons for a 25-20 win and a shot at Osage for the title. They promptly swept the Green Devils, too.
“I knew today would be a challenge because it was homecoming week,” said Cedar Falls coach Matt Johnson. “With that and the fact that we have been banged up lately and other excuses, we made it through. That was from the great coaching staff, because they were able to help the girls tune out the excitement of homecoming, which is a great experience, but now they can celebrate the big night knowing they won their tournament.”
West had cause to celebrate, as well.
The Wahawks dropped a close one to Class 4A West Delaware, 16-21, 18-21, then fell to Dowling 19-21, 15-21.
“We had a great practice Friday and we just came out slow today,” said West coach Ashley Berinobis. “We seem to start out in the hole, but these girls are fighters and they will come back no matter who we are playing.
“We need to start strong just as we finish. Today, though, these girls played probably the best on both offense and defense as I have seen in a long while.”
Avery Kroll dominated the net most of the day and put the icing on the championship with two devastating kills and a nice tap over to seal the deal.
“This was a good win for us after battling with so many good teams all day,” said Kroll. “We came into this tournament ranked for the first time in many years and we thought we had a good chance to win it. We have the confidence in each other now and we just have to come out and play strong at the start and keep teams down.”
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Waterloo Columbus went 0-6 in pool play, rallied for a 16-21, 21-13, 15-12 win over Charles City in the quarterfinals, but dropped a three set marathon with Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Always tough Dike-New Hartford took an unexpected early exit as it lost to West Delaware in three sets during the quarters, and Waterloo East struggled as the Trojans claimed just a one set victory.
Janesville was 4-2 in pool play, but squared off against runner-up Osage in the first round of brackets, losing 21-11 and 21-18.
Pool A—Cedar Falls def. Charles City 21-3, 21-13, Cedar Falls def. Janesville 21-7, 21-13, Cedar Falls def. Fort Dodge 21-5, 21-8, Charles City def. Ft. Dodge 21-6, 21-13, Janesville def. Ft. Dodge 21-18, 21-7, Janesville def. Charles City 24-22, 21-11.
Pool B—Osage def. Waterloo Columbus 21-12, 21-13, Osage def. Marshalltown 21-16, 21-8, Des Moines Roosevelt def. Columbus 22-20, 21-19, Roosevelt def. Marshalltown 12-21, 21-19, 15-8, Osage def. Roosevelt 21-10, 21-12, Marshalltown def. Columbus 22-20, 22-20.
Pool C—West Delaware def. Waterloo West 21-16, 21-18, W. Delaware def. Cedar Rapids Washington 21-9, 21-4, Des Moines Dowling def. W. West 21-19, 21-15, Dowling def. Washington 21-6, 21-11, W. Delaware def. Dowling 21-19, 17-21, 18-16, W. West def. Washington 21-14, 21-13.
Pool D—Dike-New Hartford def. Waterloo East 21-16, 21-13, Grundy Center def. DNH 14-21, 21-19, 15-7, Grundy Center def. Cedar Rapids Prairie 21-16, 21-8, Grundy Center def. W. east 21-13, 21-18, DNH def. Prairie 21-13, 21-18, Prairie def. W. East 21-15, 19-21, 15-7.
Quarterfinals—Cedar Falls def. Roosevelt 21-11, 21-11, Osage def. Janesville 21-11, 21-18, Dowling def. Grundy Center 21-17, 22-20, W. Delaware def. DNH 19-21, 21-14, 15-11.
Semifinals—Cedar Falls def. Dowling 25-15, 25-20, Osage def. W. Delaware 28-30, 25-13, 15-10.
Championship—Cedar Falls def. Osage 25-12, 25-17.
Quarterfinals—Marshalltown def. Fort Dodge 21-15, 19-21, 15-9, Columbus def. Charles City 16-21, 21-13, 15-12, W. West def. W. East 21-7, 21-14, CR Prairie def. CR Washington 21-9, 21-7.
Semifinals—W. West def Marshalltown 25-13, 25-20, CR Prairie def. Columbus 25-22, 11-25, 15-10.
Championship—W. West def. Prairie 25-16, 25-13.