Western Dubuque will take care of business in Round 1

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Bobcats reach the Class 4A semifinals for the third year in a row

Western Dubuque takes care of the business in the first round of state volleyball

Western Dubuque players celebrate their win over Sioux City Heelan in a Class 4A quarter-finals at Monday’s state volleyball tournament at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids. (Geoff Stellfox / The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS – Your team, running rough in a second movement, the students of Western Dubuque started a chant:

“It’s too easy.”

Then, a little later, one more thing:

“This is boring.”

Here’s the thing: excellence is not boring. And Western Dubuque was a long stretch of size on Monday afternoon.

The top ranked Bobcats reached the Class 4A semifinals for the third year in a row, defeating Sioux City Heelan, 25-22, 25-13, 25-16 at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse.

“Ever since we came here to watch my first year, we’ve been telling each other that we want to win one of these,” said setter Madison Maahs. “I have a good feeling about this year.”

“Photo gallery: Western Dubuque vs. Sioux City Heelan at the state volleyball tournament

The Bobcats (32-3) won their 24th game in a row, moving against Cedar Rapids Xavier (30-4) / No. 4 before. 5 Marion (37-8) on Wednesday lunchtime.

If they weren’t on full alert when they got to town on Monday, they were after hearing that another # 1 – Iowa City Liberty at 5A – had been knocked off (by Johnston).

“We definitely didn’t want us to be,” said Senior Meredith Bahl, whose 14 kills earned her over 1,000 in her career. “Coach (Megan Scherrman) said, ‘You better not be.'”

It was not.

Western Dubuque navigated a little dramatically in the first movement, trailing 19-18. But Maddie Harris racked up back-to-back kills to unleash a pivotal 5-1 push, and the rest of the way was clear sailing and sunshine.

Two runs defined Game 2 – a 7-1 climb that put the Bobcats in the lead, 9-5, and a six-point spree that ended the set.

There’s nothing boring about that.

Then the Bobcats rolled into the lead 14-7 in the final and sailed home.

Maddie Harris, one of the key figures who led Western Dubuque to a state softball title last summer, led all attackers with 15 kills and had a kill efficiency of 0.333.

“Getting that state title in softball really helps the mental game,” said Harris.

Bahl added 14 kills and 14 digs, Libby Lansing eight kills. And Maahs ran the show with 36 assists as the Bobcats enjoyed a 44-26 kill advantage.

Maliyah Hacker fell on Heelan (20-17) with seven kills.

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