GREENFIELD, Iowa — Conditioning isn’t always the first thing associated with volleyball success.
But Treynor junior Gracie Myers knows there’s a method to coach Janet Fiene’s madness.
“Every day our first half-hour, 45 minutes of practice is straight conditioning,” she said. “We hate it, but it pays off in matches like this.”
On Wednesday, it paid off in the form of the school’s 14th state-qualifying banner. Locked in a grueling four-setter with a determined Des Moines Christian team, the Cardinals powered through the fourth set to beat the Lions 25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 25-13 in a Class 2-A regional volleyball final at Nodaway Valley High School.
“Very proud of them. Every time I asked them to do something, they delivered,” Fiene said.
The teams slugged away for an hour and 52 minutes, running down balls all over the gym. But Treynor had more in the tank at the end.
“(Conditioning) is a big part of what we do, and they accept that,” Fiene said. “It was tough. Our middles were working like crazy, running along the net. Absolutely, they are prepared to go whatever distance they need to.”
Treynor will enjoy going a long distance for its next match. The seventh-rated Cardinals (31-6) will play second-seeded Hull Western Christian (41-3) in a 2-A quarterfinal at 3 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
After a dramatic 25-23 win in a second set that saw eight lead changes, Treynor threatened to complete a sweep of the unrated Lions (27-7), who they beat in the state championship softball game just more than three months ago. Treynor led 20-17 in the third set.
But then Des Moines Christian won one of the match’s longest points on an errant Cardinal hit. Treynor never won another point, as the Lions rattled off eight straight and celebrated wildly after sending the match to a fourth set.
Treynor then showed some of the toughness that carried it to the softball crown. The 5-foot-9 Myers powered home six kills in the fourth set, 5-11 senior Chaley Rath added five and 5-9 senior Emma Fiene pitched in four as their opponent struggled to stay in system.
The younger Fiene momentarily halted a postgame interview to hug her mother, the coach. “We did it, Mom,” she said as they shared a teary embrace.
Emma Fiene agreed that conditioning played a key role in the victory.
“Without it, we wouldn’t be able to pull out the games like we did tonight,” she said.
Senior libero Lexis Rogers and Fiene were all over the back row in all four sets, extending points with their anticipation and hustle.
Myers led the way with 17 kills and Rath added 15, with Fiene pitching in eight and Lexi Woods six. Madison Keysor and Tracy Purdy combined for 42 assists and kept the Lions off-balance.
“They had great defense and minimal errors,” Des Moines Christian coach Paige Thiner said. “We had a few more errors than them, and I’d say that’s what it was.”
It was a groundbreaking night for western Iowa in Class 2-A, as St. Albert knocked off a tall, talented Hinton team and Carroll Kuemper swept Woodward-Granger, giving western Iowa three-eighths of the Class 2-A field.
“That’s very exciting,” Janet Fiene said. “We’re going to represent southwest Iowa really well. I’m very proud. All of us got there, and it’s going to be an exciting day.”
DM Christian (27-7)......................21 23 25 13
Treynor (31-6)...........................25 25 20 25
DMC (kills-aces-blocks): Brynn Reichardt 6-2-2, Tiffany Stubbs 1-0-0, Kylee Thiner 17-1-0, Morgan Conn 5-0-2, Linnea Stephens 1-0-0, Mikayla Reding 5-0-0, Brittany Zimmer 0-0-0, Erika Veurink 8-0-2, Olivia Rasmussen 0-1-0.
T: Lexis Rogers 0-0-0, Mattie Jacobsen 0-0-0, Lexi Woods 6-1-3, Gracie Myers 17-0-3, Tracy Purdy 0-0-0, Chaley Rath 15-1-1, Madison Keysor 0-2-0, Lexi Killinger 0-0-0, Emma Fiene 8-4-1, Paige Volkens 0-0-0.
Set assists: DMC, Stephens 41. T, Purdy 26, Keysor 16, Volkens 1.
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