City High’s quest for a return trip to the state volleyball championship match has ended.
The Little Hawks lost to No. 4-ranked Urbandale 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 15-10 Tuesday in a Class 5A regional final between two of last year’s state tournament teams at Newton High School.
Urbandale scored the final six points of the match to end City’s season at 20-14.
Last fall, City was the state runner-up.
Despite a season filled with injuries and adversity, the Little Hawks nearly made a return trip to next week’s state tournament in Cedar Rapids.
“It was like a yoyo this year,” City coach Craig Pitcher said. “At the end, we played very well. Our intensity was there, our execution was there.”
City hung in through the final moments of the match, which lasted two hours.
Michaela Nelson smashed 17 kills and had 20 digs. Rylee Price added 12 kills.
Alexa Aldrich Ingram led the defense with 21 digs. Teammate Ruth Grace compiled 47 assists and four aces.
Urbandale won two of the first three sets. City High scored the final four points of the fourth set to force a decisive fifth frame.
“Iowa City High’s a great team and they played awesome,” Urbandale middle hitter Celie Kohls said. “We just pulled through.”
In the fifth set, City High built an 11-9 lead before Urbandale’s rally.
“We’ve never had trouble coming back from behind,” Urbandale middle hitter Mackenzie Brees said. “We kind of like to keep it interesting for the crowd.”
Urbandale’s Emilee Erichsen smacked a match-high 22 kills. Teammate Kyla Inderski, an all-state outside hitter, added 17.
The winners improved to 34-5 this season. City High was hoping to reach state for the third consecutive time but found a tough obstacle.
“Coming in, we were definitely the underdog,” Pitcher said. “It was different for us, we haven’t been in that situation for a while.”