DELHI — Class 2A’s top-ranked Dike-New Hartford is racing into the state volleyball tournament on high octane.
The Wolverines passed their final state tune-up with another dominant performance, defeating Bellevue in straight sets, 25-14, 24-15, 25-12, Tuesday night at Maquoketa Valley High School. This marks the 11th consecutive trip to state and 28th overall for one of Iowa’s perennial powers.
“They’ve done a nice job of being fairly consistent all season long and just finding ways to put ourselves in positions,” Dike-New Hartford coach Diane Harms said. “We’ve been challenged quite a bit throughout the season, so I hope we’re prepared and ready to make another strong run down there at Cedar Rapids.”
Moving from Class 3A to Class 2A this fall, the Wolverines may be stronger than the team that captured the 3A championship a year ago. Five contributors from that finals match are back, while sophomore Morgan Weber, who missed the last postseason with an injury, is among a cast of dynamic newcomers who have added their imprint on the program’s winning ways.
“It’s been really nice having a lot of people from last year be back on the court,” said senior Madison Hedges, a returning starting setter. “New players have gotten experience and it’s been a great year so far.
“I think we’ve grown a lot, just working hard in practice, and Harms has been teaching us a lot more.”
Bellevue (21-13) didn’t make many mistakes in Tuesday’s match. Dike-New Hartford (47-3) simply imposed its will on the Comets.
Texas commit Sydney Petersen finished with 21 digs and Hedges distributed 41 assists. Baylee Petersen landed 14 kills, including seven in the first set, while Weber finished with 12 kills and middle Amber Rickert had 10 kills, five block assists and one solo block.
“To start the match Baylee Petersen was on fire, to end it Amber and Morgan stepped up,” Harms said. “Different players are able to step up at times, and Syd just kind of anchors our back row and Madison distributes the ball really well for us.”
Added Hedges, “All the hitters are really strong and I know where to put the ball because I can trust everyone.”
D-NH now enters state on an 18-match win streak that includes two tournament titles against fields of some of the state’s top 5A schools. The move to Class 2A sets the potential for one of Iowa prep volleyball’s strongest rivalries to be renewed.
Defending 2A champion Western Christian is the No. 2 seed in the class. The Wolfpack rank second all-time with 15 state titles. D-NH is third with 12.
“The chance to be a state champion for the girls is always so special,” Harms said, addressing the upcoming week. “There’s always new faces, new girls, new people that are contributing, so it’s just an awesome feeling to be going back and to just see what we can do down there.”