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West plucks Prairie Hawks, 3-2 to end regular season

Emma Norris prepares a kill shot Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Cedar Rapids as the West High Women of Troy take on the Prairie Hawks. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

CEDAR RAPIDS– The West High Women of Troy closed out the regular season Tuesday, Oct. 20, with a 3-2 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie in the Prairie Hawks’ nest. It was a hard-fought win, with West taking the first set, 25-22, stumbling in the second for a 25-17 loss, bouncing back to take the third set, 25-16, and back-sliding in the fourth with a 25-18 loss before taking the fifth and final set, 15-12.
Emma Norris led the attack with a dozen kills, backed up by Colby Greene’s 10.
After the match, Coach Randy Dolson analyzed the action. “We have been serving pretty well lately (Gabi Delsing and Ali Tauchen both put up five ace serves in the match), and our game has improved in a lot of aspects, but if we don’t pass, we generally don’t win.” Passing has been a piece of the puzzle Dolson and company have been attempting to solve this season, he said. “It’s that simple. The kids know it… for some reason, whether it’s focus, or a little tight… it’s not like we’re not working on passing.” The coach noted the team had spent a full hour and 20 minutes on the skill in a recent practice session.
“That’s where we’re at right now. If we can pass, we can play with anybody, and we’ve shown that. So that’s what our season is gonna come down to.”
The Women of Troy earned a first round bye in the regional competition leading to the state championships, and will face the winner of a Monday, Oct. 26, quarterfinal match between City High and Davenport West at home on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m.
Dolson said having the break in the action was a mixed blessing.
“It’s a yes and no kind of thing. You hate to sit for a week at this stage in the game, you know, you’d rather be playing.” Often, the first round involves playing a bit of a lesser team, he said, “and, it’s just kinda nice to play just so you kinda keep things moving a little bit.”
The team would take a couple of days off, he said, and would likely go watch the Little Hawks take on Davenport West. After that it would be a few days of hard work, with some more time spent on passing.
“We’ve got plenty of things to work on,” he said.
West High heads into the postseason with a 25-11 record and ranked 11th in Class 5A in the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s final rankings issued Friday, Oct. 23. City High dropped out of the rankings, which showed Dowling Catholic in the top spot at 40-5. Davenport West was unranked.

KILLS: E. Norris 12, C. Greene 10, C. Haight 9, E. Halverson 7, A. Tauchen 6, M. Ford 3.
ASSISTS: M. Fay 40, G. Delsing 2, Ford 1, Tauchen 1.
DIGS: Tauchen 16, K. Lang 15, Ford 13, Fay 11, Norris 11, Delsing 8, Greene 8, G. Klemme 3, Halverson 1.
SOLO BLOCKS: Halverson 2.
BLOCK ASSISTS: Halverson 5, Fay 2, Norris 2, Greene 1.
ACE SERVES: Delsing 5, Tauchen 5, Ford 2, Lang 1, Norris 1.