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Lightning sweep the Mustangs, earn trip to state volleyball tourney

Liberty High heads for first state tournament with 3-0 regional final win
The Liberty High varsity volleyball team celebrates receiving its 2019 state tournament qualifier banner after sweeping MVC rival Dubuque Hempstead, 3-0, in a Class 5A regional final Monday, Nov. 4, at Liberty. The Lightning started their first-ever state tournament appearance Tuesday, Nov. 12.

NORTH LIBERTY– A 3-2 Class 4A regional semifinal loss to Marion last year left a sour taste in our mouths, said Liberty High volleyball Head Coach Randy Dolson. That bitter taste was replaced by sweet victory, 32 of them in fact, in the regular season and got only sweeter as the Lightning knocked off Muscatine, 3-0, in a Class 5A regional semifinal match and Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) rival Dubuque Hempstead, 3-0, in the regional final to advance to their first state tournament.
“The girls had this goal since right after the season last year,” Dolson said, “We met in January and I just flat-out asked the girls, ‘what are your goals for this next season?’ and they said ‘state.’”
The Lightning punched their ticket Monday, Nov. 4, at home, as they knocked off Hempstead, 25-21, 25-16 and 25-17.
The Mustangs came charging out of the gate in the first set with an 8-1 lead before Dolson took a timeout to calm the Bolts down and refocus them. “They showed their true colors because we had to weather the storm, there is no doubt about it,” Dolson said. “We didn’t lose any faith in them. We just calmed them down a little bit and they came through and I’m awful proud of them.”
Shelby Kimm and Cassidy Hartmann put up a kill apiece as Liberty clawed back to a 10-12 deficit. Sydney Woods produced a kill making it an 11-12 gap before a Hempstead error tied the set at 12-apiece. Another Hartman kill gave Liberty its first lead of the set. LeeAnn Potter produced back-to-back kills, for an 18-18 tie and a 19-18 lead, while a kill from Rylee Fay made it 21-18, prompting a Mustang timeout. Woods dropped the ball over the net for set point and a 25-21 win.
The second set started out as a back-and-forth affair with a Woods kill tying the set at 2-all, a Kimm kill making it 4-5, followed by a pair of Potter kills to make it 5-5 and 6-5 for Liberty. An ace serve by Fay gave the Bolts a 15-11 lead forcing Hempstead to take a timeout. An ace by Woods made it 20-12 and led to another Mustang cease-fire before a Potter kill resulted in set point giving Liberty the 25-16 win.
Liberty jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the third set with a kill apiece from Potter and Hartmann. Hartmann made back-to-back kills to make it 13-8, and 13-9 as the Lightning glided to a 25-17 win. [Hartmann kills score correct?????]
The second-ranked Lightning started the state tournament with a quarterfinal round match against No. 7 Pleasant Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The Class 5A semifinal is on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m., with the championship decided at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. All matches take place at the U.S. Cellular Center, in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Full coverage will be available in the Thursday, Nov. 21, edition of the North Liberty Leader.

Kills— Cassidy Hartmann 11, Sydney Woods 11, Rylee Fay 7, LeeAnn Potter 7, Shelby Kimm 4, Lauren Roman 1.
Assists— Haley Hested 17, Fay 15, Woods 1.
Digs— Potter 8, Woods 7, Fay 5, Hested 4, Hartmann 1, Kimm 1.
Block assists— Hartmann 3, Kimm 3, Fay 1, Roman 1.
Ace serves— Fay 3, Potter 3, Woods 3, Hartmann 1.