Your Prep Sports
The state volleyball tournament will get underway at Xtream Arena in Coralville next Monday.
By the end of the day on Wednesday the fields for the state tournament will be set.
The first 24 spots at state will be settled on Tuesday with regional finals in Classes 3A, 4A and 5A taking place across the state.
Before those matches get underway we take a quick look at the regional matches involving Your Prep Sports area teams.
Class 5A, Region 4
Cedar Rapids Prairie (14-21) at No. 1 Liberty High (29-8)
Where: Liberty High School
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Player to watch: Cedar Rapids Prairie senior Jacey Miller (5-8) lead the Hawks with 270 kills on .191 hitting, ranks second on the team with 192 digs and third with 22 blocks
About the Hawks: A preseason top-15 team, Cedar Rapids Prairie faced a rugged schedule with 18 of its 21 losses coming to ranked opponents.
Two of the three losses to unranked opponents came in its regular season finale at the Mississippi Valley Conference quadrangular but Cedar Rapids Prairie rebounded in its postseason opener with a sweep of Muscatine in the Region 4 semifinals.
The win over the Muskies gives Cedar Rapids Prairie a rematch with Liberty High after the Hawks fell at Liberty in four sets to open the season.
Cedar Rapids Prairie is led by Miller and juniors McKenna Murray (130 kills) and Ryann Decker (117 kills).
Sophomore setter Taylor Ray (519 assists) runs a Prairie offense with four players with at least 100 kills.
About the Lightning: Among the most successful programs in the state over the past several seasons Liberty High is seeking a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament.
The Lightning are 121-19 over the past four seasons, a stretch that includes a 5A runner-up finish in 2020 and opening-round state tournament exits in 2019 and 2021.
This season the Lightning have been as impressive as ever while navigating a schedule that ranks among the most difficult in the state.
All eight loss for Liberty High are to ranked opponents, including seven losses to top-five ranked foes as Liberty High has played 29 of its 37 matches this season against ranked teams.
Liberty High is led by a trio of seniors in Cassidy Hartman, Shelby Kimm and Lilah VanScoyoc.
Returning all-staters Hartman (456 kills) and Kimm (293 kills) have been among the top hitters in the state over the past several seasons while VanScoyoc has enjoyed a breakthrough senior season with 179 kills.
Sophomore setter Asta Hildebrand (746 assists, 76 kills) runs the Lightning offense while junior Gracie Hennings has a team-high 47 blocks.
What to watch: A state qualifier each of the past three seasons Liberty High has a roster loaded with postseason experience.
The Lightning have never lost a set in a regional final match, posting sweeps in each of its three trips to the regional final.
In fact, Liberty High has never had an opponent score more than 21 points in any of the nine sets it has played in a regional final match.
The experience edge is heavily in favor of Liberty High which means Cedar Rapids Prairie will need to get off to a strong start.
Playing at home look for Liberty High to capture the momentum and feed off of the crowd early as it attempts to put the Hawks in an early deficit.
Breakdown: A Liberty High team seeking a fourth consecutive trip to state and with state title aspirations faces a Prairie team looking to pull the upset of the postseason to return to state for the first time since 2008.
Prairie hung around with Liberty High in August, taking a set from Liberty High in a 25-11, 25-20, 22-25, 25-13 Lightning win in the season opener for both teams.
Liberty High added another win over the Hawks at the West High tournament on September 10 posting a 21-11, 21-15 victory in a best of three match.
Hartman had 20 kills in the season-opening win over Cedar Rapids Prairie and Liberty High will likely look to get its all-state senior going early in the regional final.
Class 4A, Region 7
No. 8 Clear Creek Amana (31-10) at No. 6 West Delaware (29-14)
Where: West Delaware High School in Manchester
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Player to watch: West Delaware 6-foot sophomore Brooke Krogmann leads the Hawks with 276 kills on .238 hitting and ranks second on the team with 42 blocks.
About the Hawks: Defending state champion West Delaware is seeking a fifth consecutive trip to the state tournament after winning the Class 3A title a year ago.
The Hawks were state qualifier in 4A in 2018, 2019 and 2020 reaching the semifinals in 2019 and finishing runner-up in 4A in 2020 before claiming the 3A title a year ago.
Back in 4A this season West Delaware is seeking to continue its string of postseason success.
The Hawks have three players with more than 200 kills led by 6-foot sophomore Brooke Krogmann with a team-high 276 kills.
Seniors Alivia Schulte (256 kills) and Allie Demmer (212 kills) join Krogmann with 200 kills and give the Hawks an imposing trio of hitters.
Sophomore setter Kirstyn Kolbet (774 assists) directs the Hawk offense while Demmer has a team-high 45 blocks to go with 42 from Krogmann.
West Delaware has played 17 matches against ranked opponents this season going 4-13 in those matches.
The Hawks won five of their last eight matches with losses top top-three ranked teams Dike-New Hartford, Marion and Mount Vernon in that stretch and advanced to the regional final with a 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18 win over Clinton.
About the Clippers: Clear Creek Amana opened the season with back-to-back losses during a 4-3 stretch to start the year but has been dynamite ever since going 27-7.
The Clippers lost their postseason opener a year ago but were dominant in a regional semifinal sweep of Independence this season posting a 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 win over the Mustangs last Thursday.
Clear Creek Amana has one of the top players in Class 4A in 6-foot-2 junior Bliss Beck who leads the team with 338 kills on .418 hitting and ranks second in 4a with 131 blocks.
The Clippers have balance behind Beck with freshman Averie Lower posting 180 kills to go with 134 from junior Sam Schrage and 133 from junior Addison Gisleson.
Junior Kenadi Wood (365 assists) and freshman Emily Henderson (430) handle the setting duties for the Clippers who have a standout back row player in junior libero Meg Berkland (418 digs).
What to watch: A couple of WAMAC rivals meet for the first time since 2020 with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
West Delaware has won four in a row over Clear Creek Amana dating back to 2013 but the two conference foes have not met since 2020.
This one figures to be close throughout with momentum likely changing sides throughout the match.
West Delaware has home court advantage and the postseason experience but Clear Creek Amana has appeared unflappable for much of the season.
Look for the first set to be key in this one as both teams seeking to get into a rhythm against an unfamiliar opponent.
Breakdown: Clear Creek Amana is seeking to return to the state tournament for the first time since 2014 but to do so will need to get past a West Delaware squad that has been a regular at state for the past several seasons.
Despite its lack of state tournament experience the Clippers should be prepared following a challenging regular season schedule that featured 18 matches against ranked opponents.
The Clippers fared well in heads-up matches with ranked teams this season going 8-10 in those matches with wins over regional final teams West Liberty, Dubuque Wahlert, Vinton-Shellsburg, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Mid-Prairie, Solon and Union.
Class 3A, Region 7
No. 9 Solon (26-12) at No. 5 West Liberty (30-7)
Where: West Liberty
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Player to watch: Senior setter Brooklyn Buysse is the one that makes it all go for the Comets.
A third-team all-state pick last season, Buyssee has 857 assists which ranks third in Class 3A this season to go with 113 kills, 212 digs and 30 ace serves.
About the Comets: The defending 3A runner-up, West Liberty is seeking a third trip to the state tournament in the past three seasons.
Gone from last year’s runner-up team is 2021 3A player of the year Macy Daufeldt but the Comets haven’t skipped a beat winning at least 30 matches for the fifth time in nine seasons.
With Daufeldt and her 639 kills from last season off to Drake, West Liberty has used a balanced attack and relied on one of the top setters in 3A in Buysse and one of the best liberos in 3A in senior Monica Morales.
Sophomore Sophie Buysse leads five players with at least 100 kills with a team-high 290 while junior Maelyn Wainwright has 233 kills and sophomore Ava Morrison 218.
About the Spartans: Solon has been among the most improved teams in Class 3A this season going from 17 wins each of the past two seasons to 26 wins this fall.
The 26 wins for the Spartans are the most since Solon won the 3A title in 2014 in its last appearance at the state tournament.
Now Solon is seeking to put an exclamation point on its strong season under first-year head coach Mikayla Siddell.
Solon has been impressive in its run to the regional final posting back-to-back sweeps over Williamsburg and Albia and has won four of its last five matches.
The Spartans have used a balanced offensive attack this season with four players with at least 145 kills led by senior Delaney Bombei with a team-high 220 kills.
Sophomores Grace Erwin (191 kills), Aly Stahle (189 kills) and Yasmine Sell (145) join Bombe with triple digit kills.
Solon is one of the top blocking teams in the 3A ranking second in total blocks with 546 including a 3A-leading 197 solo blocks.
Erwin leads Solon with 169 blocks, Sell has 140 while Stahle has 64 and Bombei 62.
What to watch: In a match that figures to be tight and tense throughout every point will matter.
Keep an eye on the service line where Liberty High has one of the most efficient teams in the state this fall.
The Comets lead 3A in serving efficiency at 93.9 percent but have remained aggressive ranking 25th with 198 aces.
Senior Rylee Goodale leads five Comets with at least 30 ace serves with a team-high 44.
Solon will need to avoid giving away points to pull the upset and that starts with matching the efficiency of the Comets after ranking 59th of 64 3A teams in serving efficiency during the season at 87.5 percent.
Breakdown: A Solon team seeking its first trip to state since 2014 faces a West Liberty team that has reached the state tournament two of the past three seasons finishing runner-up a year ago.
The Spartans and Comets met in the opening few weeks of the season with West Liberty earning a 25-19, 28-25, 15-8 win over the Spartans at a quadrangular at Clear Creek Amana.
Both teams are battle tested.
Nearly half of Solon’s matches this season have come against ranked teams with the Spartans going 6-11 in those matches while West Liberty is 9-7 against ranked opponents.
The Comets are among annually among the best defensive teams in the state under head coach Ruben Galvan and rarely beat themselves.
Solon will need to be clean in serve receive to give its hitters the best chance to succeed against a scrappy West Liberty back row.