Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY– As Regina took the court for its postseason opener on Wednesday a voice could be heard from the Regal bench.
“Right away,” Regina coach Brandon Mills said sternly to his team. “Right. Away.”
The Regals seemed to get the point. Loud and Clear.
Regina scored the first five points of the match and cruised to a 25-5 win in the opening set on its way to a sweep of Louisa-Muscatine (5-15) in a Class 2A, Region 8 quarterfinal at Regina.
“We talked about that a lot, just getting on them right away,” Regina senior Peyton Naeve said. “We knew we had it get after it early and come out the first game because that would carry the momentum to the next games.”
Regina followed up the stellar start with 25-21 and 25-23 wins in the final two sets while advancing to the Region 8 semifinal where it will travel to second-ranked Wilton (34-2) on Monday at 7 p.m.
Wilton advanced with a sweep of Durant on Wednesday.
“I told the girls two months ago we can be that team, we can play that way that we did in the first set, we’ve seen it for whole games, we’ve seen it for whole days so I know they are capable of it,” Mills said. “Now it is time to peak because it is win or go home.”
Regina was clicking early on Wednesday.
Naeve and senior outside Lily Simpson each had two kills during the 5-0 burst to start the match that forced an early Louisa-Muscatine timeout.
“All we talked about coming into this was to play our game,” Mills said. “We wanted to be high tempo, nice quick passes and get going right away and they did that the first game.”
Regina led 9-3 after an ace block by Simpson and then rattled off eight consecutive points to push the lead to 17-3.
The Regals closed the first set on a 7-0 run that featured a pair of ace serves from senior Alli Dillon.
“I’d say our defense was really good,” Naeve said. “We were digging everything up so we could get into system and we could easily hit. The momentum was on our side and we just had fun and had a lot of confidence.”
Regina wasn’t as sharp over the final two sets but was good enough to complete the sweep.
The Regals used a 4-0 run to snap an 11-all tie in the second set and never trailed again and used a 3-0 spurt in the third set to break an 11-11 tie and would never give up the lead.
Still the final two sets left Regina seeking the consistency it had early.
“Starting the first game we played really well and the final two sets we didn’t play as well,” Dillon said. “For us it’s about playing all three sets.”
Regina finished with a 33-16 edge in kills with five players posting at least three kills.
Naeve had five of her match-high 11 kills in the opening set while Simpson added seven and Dillon had six.
Regina posted 11 ace serves in the win including three from Naeve and Dillon and two each from Simpson and Bella Schuessler.
“We started dialing in and we put a couple people in to serve,” Mills said. “We’ve concentrated on serving the past couple of weeks and we’ve found some people that are good at that so it’s just been some little tweaks.”
The competition steps up in a big way on Monday with second-ranked Wilton.
The Beavers swept Regina in the regular season meeting 25-12, 25-10, 25-7 back on September 2 in Wilton.
“We are just going to go out and leave it all on our court because it could be our last game,” Naeve said. “We just want to go be loud and play the best that we can.”
Regina 25 25 25
Louisa-Muscatine 5 21 23
Caitlin Martin 3-0-0, Sydney Wagner 3-1-0, Peyton Naeve 11-3-0, Bella Schuessler 1-2-0, Lily Simpson 7-2-2, Alli Dillon 6-3-0, Hope Simpson 2-0-1, Totals 33-11-3.
Assists – Alli Dillon 13, Peyton Naeve 8, Lily Simpson 1
Emilee Salek 1-0-0, Emma Rosenboom 3-0-0, McKenzie Kissel 2-1-0, Kaylee Corbin 10-2-1, Totals 16-3-1.
Assists – McKenna Hohenadel 14