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Cards win big points in match of big runs

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TREYNOR, Iowa — Nine straight points convinced Treynor early on everything would be fine. A few more well-timed runs helped the volleyball team surge within a win of the state tournament.

The Iowa Class 2-A No. 13 Cardinals picked up flurries of points in big moments to help them push past Council Bluffs St. Albert 25-17, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21 in a Region 3 semifinal Friday night. Alexis Woods and Emma Myers notched 13 kills apiece, and Madison Paulsen joined them in double figures with 10 in front of a large and raucous crowd at Treynor High School.

“It’s one of those where you know you’re fine, but then all of a sudden you realize, ‘Yep, we can do this,’ ” Treynor coach Kara Huisman said. “That’s a big first game, and St. Albert is good, so it makes it tough.”

The victory puts the Cards one win from their second state trip in three years and 15th overall. They meet No. 6 South Central Calhoun (40-0) in a regional final Wednesday in Denison.

Junior Summer Goss served Treynor (26-8) on its first-set spurt to forge a 13-5 lead. The co-setter mixed in three aces and kept the Saintes (17-12) off balance by changing speeds and locations on her initial hits. The hosts extended their lead to 21-10 before allowing six straight, but it didn’t get closer than that the rest of the set.

“Everybody has their specific thing, and I just like to go everywhere with my serve,” Goss said. “We just work on every type of serve — short, long, all of it.”

Treynor saved its second big push for late in the second set. Trailing 22-21 after one of Alli Wettengel’s match-best 25 kills for St. Albert, the Cardinals closed with six of the last seven. Myers had a pair of kills, as did Paulsen, whose last slam clinched a 2-0 match lead to the delight of a multitude of red-clad supporters.

“We came out flat, then we found our momentum and our fight and it was the end of a set,” St. Albert coach Angie Lantz said. “Then it was the same thing, second verse, same as the first.”

The Saintes, qualifiers for the previous three state tournaments, roared back to claim the third set. Down 20-18, they ended on a 7-1 run highlighted by a big Wettengel kill and assist block with setter Matti Munger after it was 22-21.

A stretch of 16 points in 18 rallies in the fourth ballooned Treynor’s lead to 21-8. It held up despite St. Albert responding by taking six straight set points as part of an 11-1 run. The Saintes were called for a violation to finish it.

“We were talking a lot more than we had all night at the end,” Goss said. “It was just that everything was clicking and everybody was on. We know when that happens, we’re good to go.”

Huisman said the outcome confirmed what numbers and her eyes were telling her: Treynor is a state-quality team. The coaching staff set statistical goals before the season — on measurements like blocking, kills per set, assists per set and serving accuracy — based on how last year’s state qualifiers performed.

The Cards didn’t check their progress until after their final conference match a couple weeks ago. Every benchmark was achieved except for hitting percentage (a .240s team average fell short of the .300 aim).

“I refused to look at it until the end of the year because I didn’t want to jinx us,” Huisman said. “When I ran those final stats and I knew we were there, it kind of gave me goose bumps because I thought, ‘We are too good of athletes that if we can do this, we give ourselves a shot.’”

On the other side of the net, five seniors played their final matches for St. Albert. Libero Kendall Biggs, setter Munger and hitters Wettengel, Chloe Meyer (four kills) and Emily Rindone (one kill, one ace) played significant minutes for the Saintes this fall.

Lantz said the quintet were leaders for a squad with more fight than any she has coached.

“It’s a special group,” Lantz said. “Without that group of seniors and their hard work and dedication over the years, we don’t have three state tournament appearances and we don’t set ourselves up for future success down the road.”

C.B. St. Albert (17-12) .............................. 17 22 25 21

Treynor (26-8) .......................................... 25 25 21 25

SA (kills-aces-blocks): Kendall Biggs 0-1-0, Grace Wettengel 4-0-2, Kori Lester 0-0-0, Matti Munger 10-1-3, Alli Wettengel 25-1-3, Chloe Meyer 4-0-0, Paige Beacom 7-0-2, Emily Rindone 1-1-0.

T: Lexi Killinger 1-0-0, Taylor Sudmann 5-0-0, Alexis Woods 13-0-1, Madison Paulsen 10-0-0, Emma Myers 13-0-1, Sarah Duysen 0-1-0, Anna Teigland 0-0-0, Summer Goss 2-4-0, Abby Tiarks 7-0-3, Kayli Christensen 1-0-0.

Set assists: SA, Munger 40, Grace Wettengel 1, Chloe Meyer 1. T, Summer Goss 28, Tiarks 12, Paulsen 1.

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