Alexa Aldrich-Ingram sets against Cedar Falls. Jackie Blake Jensen/IC Pixx. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Each of the past two seasons have ended the same way for West High, with losses to Bettendorf at the state tournament.
If West High is to make a third consecutive appearance at state it will need to go through its recent postseason nemesis.
Eighth-ranked West High (22-14) hosts No. 9 Bettendorf (20-11) on Monday in the Class 5A, Region 6 title game with a spot at the Class 5A state tournament on the line.
“We are super excited for the chance to play them again,” West High senior Maddie Fay said. “We want to redeem ourselves for the losses we’ve had to them in the postseason.”
Bettendorf has been a riddle for the Women of Troy the past several seasons.
The two-time defending 5A runner-up Bulldogs have won eight straight against West High, a streak that dates back to 2012.
West High hasn’t defeated Bettendorf since 2011 and is 0-6 against the Bulldogs the past three seasons.
“We are excited, there’s no doubt about that,” West High senior Ali Tauchen said. “Of course we are looking forward to playing in that match but to play against a team that beat you the past two years is motivating. I think we are ready for it.”
The final win for Bettendorf in its string of eight straight over West High was a 21-19, 19-21, 17-15 win in the opening night of play this season back on August 25.
West High senior Maddie Fay
West High isn’t putting much stock in that loss to the Bulldogs more than two months ago.
“We are such a different team,” West High coach Randy Dolson said. “It was a two-point match, we were trying to run a 6-2, Ali (Tauchen) wasn’t all the way back, we had two starters out. It was a different team.”
Plenty has changed for the Bettendorf since its sweep of West High in the quarterfinals of the 5A state tournament last year.
Bettendorf lost seven seniors that were all key contributors from last year’s team that capped a 66-3 run the past two seasons that each ended with runner-up finishes at state.
Despite the departures the Bulldogs have proved to be more than a viable contender this season.
Seniors Claire Leonard (5-11) and Kaylin Kuhn (5-1) have combined for 456 kills to lead a Bettendorf squad seeking its fifth straight state tournament appearance.
“They are still a good team and we respect them,” Tauchen said. “We are just really excited to show them what we have been working on all season.”
West High is playing perhaps its best volleyball of the season at the right time.
The Women of Troy knocked off top-ranked Cedar Falls at the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament and was sharp in a sweep of Muscatine in the regional semifinals.
“We have been playing really tough games in practice and we’ve been staying focused so I think we prepared ourselves well for this,” West High senior Emily Halverson said. “We have high expectations for ourselves and we know we can do it and I think things have been clicking at practice, we have changed up a couple of things and it’s all coming together now.”
No. 10 City High (20-14) faces its own familiar foe in its quest to return to the state tournament for the first time since 2014.
The Little Hawks will face MVC rival No. 7 Dubuque Hempstead (22-10) for the third time this season in the Region 7 title match on Monday.
Monday’s meets will be the winner-take-all rubber match after the teams split a pair of regular season meetings.
Hempstead rallied for a five-set win at City High back on September 13 and the Little Hawks on a 2-1 decision at a tournament in Dubuque on Sept. 24.