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CEDAR RAPIDS — The New Hampton volleyball program had waited 45 years for this moment.

So this year’s Chickasaws weren’t about to go down without a fight.

Playing in their first state tournament since 1973, New Hampton players were diving all over the court and crashing into the scorers’ table in a Class 3A quarterfinal battle with favored Tipton.

Seventh-seeded New Hampton gave a determined effort before No. 2 Tipton rallied for a 25-23, 17-25, 25-23, 25-19 win Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The Chickasaws finished a breakthrough season with a 36-6 record.

“Our kids fought and battled with all of their hearts,” New Hampton coach Jess Geerts said. “They really believed they could win the match and we definitely had our chances. Our players never stopped competing. We played hard and we have nothing to hang our heads about.”

New Hampton dropped a hard-fought first set before taking control of the match behind the superb play of juniors Rachel Rinken and Kiersten Tenge.

The Chickasaws powered to a decisive 25-17 win and carried that momentum into the third set. New Hampton built a 22-17 lead behind the serving of Natalie Hoey, but the Tigers stormed back to score eight of the next nine points to prevail.

Tipton came out strong in the fourth set as junior Sommer Daniel and senior Jamie Kofron took control at the net.

Rinken had a superb all-around performance. She finished with 14 kills and eight digs.

“This was an incredible atmosphere to play in and I was shocked how many people from our community came to support us,” Rinken said. “This was a huge accomplishment for us to make it to state. We’re very excited to have another opportunity to make it back here next year.”

Senior setter Lauren Frerichs finished with 35 assists.

“We worked really hard to make it to state and we had a blast competing here,” Frerichs said. “This team always battles really hard and we love the game of volleyball. We gave it everything we had.”

Tipton, which made its state debut last season, won its first state tournament match in school history.

“New Hampton really made us work for everything,” Tipton coach Amy Calonder said. “They were so scrappy – they were all over the place on defense. Rinken really hit the ball well and they did an amazing job. It was a very tough match.”

Daniel, a University of Utah recruit, recorded 24 kills, 18 digs, nine assists and four service aces. Kofron, a Drake Relays throwing champion who is headed to the University of Iowa for track and field, had 10 kills.

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