A pair of regular-season wins over a team could cause some players to worry about overconfidence heading into a third meeting in the postseason.
Emily Halverson wasn’t worried about overconfidence entering Thursday’s regional semifinal against cross-town rival City High.
The West junior was just plain nervous.
“Most matches I’m not nervous but tonight I was really nervous,” Halverson said. “We knew that we had beat them before but that is kind of the kiss of death sometimes. I think that is what made me the most nervous.”
Halverson’s nerves didn’t last too long.
Class 5A No. 11 West High rebounded from an opening-set loss and its early bout of nerves to down City High 20-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 in the Region 7 semifinals at West High.
West High improved to 26-11 with its third win of the season over City High (17-16) and will face No. 10 Linn-Mar (28-8) in the Region 7 title game on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“We talked about City High just being the next opponent on the way to our goal but still you know the rivalry and I think that played into it,” West High coach Randy Dolson said. “We had some very nervous girls before the match, they admitted it.”
Emma Norris led three West High players in double figures in kills with 15 as the Women of Troy held a 57-36 hitting advantage over City High.
Ali Tauchen added 13 kills and two ace serves and Emily Halverson had 11 kills and three ace blocks for West High, which won for the sixth time in its last seven matches.
“The first couple of points we were really nervous and you could kind of tell,” Tauchen said. “After we got into a groove and all our nerves were gone we were in a rhythm.”
West High looked anything but nervous early, jumping to a 10-5 lead with a 5-0 run that featured a pair of kills by Norris.
City High responded quickly, using a 6-0 run to take an 11-10 lead and trigger some early nerves for West High.
The Little Hawks never trailed again, ending the opening set on a 3-0 run to secure a 25-20 win.
“Our girls truly believed in themselves and they know how quickly the momentum can change,” City High coach Craig Pitcher said. “West had a four-point run off serve when our passing broke down and then all of a sudden we get a kill for us and an ace and stuff block or something like that and it turns everything around.”
West High roared to a 5-1 lead in the second set and never trailed while evening the match at one set apiece with a 25-15.
The Women of Troy were just getting started.
West High scored the final four points of the third set to break a 21-all tie and take a two sets to one lead with a 25-21 win.
Colby Greene and Norris started the run with back-to-back kills and Tauchen clinched the win with an ace serve.
“We had a lot of errors in the first game so we just had to clean that up,” Tauchen said. “Once we played our game we were fine.”
A kill and an ace block by Halverson fueled a 5-0 run in the fourth set that turned a 13-12 West lead into an 18-12 advantage it would never give up.
Alexa Aldrich-Ingram had a match-high 17 kills to pace City High and was the only Little Hawk with more than five kills.
“She played solid the whole match,” Pitcher said of Aldrich-Ingram. “Tonight she knew if she let down we would really take a big hit offensively and I thought her defense was spectacular tonight.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.
City High 25 15 21 20
West High 20 25 25 25
Ashley Smith 1-1-0, Alexa Aldrich-Ingram 17-1-2, Cyan Vanderhoef 1-0-0, Ellie Evans 3-0-0, Kendra Cave 3-0-0, Cessily Hayes 2-0-2, Shannon Stamp 5-2-3, Shannon James 4-0-0, Team 36-4-7.
Assists – Cyan Vanderhoef 13, Alexa Aldrich-Ingram 9, Ashley Smith 3.
Madi Ford 0-1-0, Emma Norris 15-0-0, Gabi Delsing 0-1-0, Ali Tauchen 13-2-1, Emily Halverson 10-0-3, Maddie Fay 3-1-0, Keimoney Lang 0-2-0, Chandler Haight 7-0-1, Colby Greene 9-0-0, Team 57-7-5.
Assists – Maddie Fay 41.