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Lady Spartans roll over Anamosa

VINTON– The postseason has arrived for the Solon volleyball team.
The Lady Spartans swept Anamosa to end the regular season Oct. 14, and then rebounded from an opening loss to Maquoketa in WaMaC pool play Oct. 16 to defeat Benton Community and Clear Creek Amana (CCA).
Solon was scheduled to face Center Point-Urbana in WaMaC bracket play Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Mount Vernon.
The Lady Spartans overpowered the Anamosa Raiders (25-7, 25-7, 25-7) in a match that featured 17 service aces by seven different players, including three each for Jordan Smith, Jordan Runge, Taylor Nearad and Mikayla Long. Tara Lance and Reed McCarty each added two, and Katie Moore had one.
Two days later it was WaMaC pool play at Vinton-Shellsburg, and Solon dropped the opening set to Maquoketa, 21-16.
“We came out with a complete lack of mental focus, compiling 20 hitting errors in that match,” said head coach Peter Gustin. “We truly beat ourselves and didn’t even make Maquoketa play hard.”
Solon took the next set 21-13, but Maquoketa rallied for a 15-11 win in the deciding third set.
“It’s not a match anyone in our program was proud of, but we bounced back nicely in the next two matches,” Gustin said. “And kudos to Maquoketa for finishing the match. We couldn’t match their intensity and drive. They were willing to play harder than we were.”
The Lady Spartans made short work of Benton Community (25-10, 25-11), led by three aces and 13 assists for Nearad, and five kills for Smith.
Jordan Runge had eight kills to lead the team against CCA in the final game of pool play. Smith and Grace Keith each added seven kills in the win (21-16, 21-19). Smith and Nearad each had two aces.
Solon begins its march to the state tournament Monday, Oct. 27, at home against Tipton in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.
In revised rankings released Oct. 16, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) knocked Solon from the top spot to No. 2 in Class 3A, behind Mount Vernon.
The IGHSAU also made note of Jordan Runge earning her 1,000th career kill in Solon’s loss to West Delaware. Jordan Smith reached the milestone earlier in the year against Central DeWitt.
“It’s a big accomplishment for both players and means they have had good players around them in order to reach that feat,” Gustin said. “Our program has had about three to four strong hitters per year, so we spread the ball out more than other teams, making it a bit tougher to achieve that task. It’s a goal the players are proud of, too, but a state championship would mean a great deal more.”