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Women of Troy to state tournament

Women of Troy Sweep Lions 3-0 in regional final
The West High Women of Troy celebrate the final match point signaling a 3-0 sweep of the Linn-Mar Lions in a Class 5A regional final match Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Linn-Mar. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

MARION– The West High Women of Troy avenged a pair of regular season losses to the Linn-Mar Lions with a 3-0 sweep Tuesday, Nov. 3, in a Class 5A regional final match, and earned their second consecutive state tournament appearance.
The Lions had the edge on paper: the No. 10 team vs. the No. 11 Women of Troy, a 28-8 record to West’s 26-11 showing and sweeping the Women of Troy 3-0 and 2-0; the latter happening in the quarterfinal round of the Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament. West coach Randy Dolson spoke about those losses after the win. “I thought we were evenly matched every time we played them. A couple of times we were up (before losing to the Lions). They’re a good team. I don’t want to say they didn’t beat us... but it always felt like we hurt ourselves. It was our passing and hitting errors that did us in.”
At Linn-Mar however, the Women of Troy put together nearly perfect sets and fended off a Linn-Mar team that threatened, particularly late in the game. “We were up and down,” Dolson said, “but we played well when we needed to, and in tight moments... our kids came through.”
West broke a 23-23 tie in the first set and took it 25-23 thanks in large part to a crucial block from Ali Tauchen. West dominated the second set and built a 24-14 lead, but found themselves having to react to the shock and awe of a 10-point run by the Lions, which knotted the game at 24-24. Linn-Mar had set point three times: 25-24, 26-25 and 27-26, but Colby Greene belted out a kill to tie at 27. A pair of Linn-Mar errors ended the marathon at 29-27 for West.
The Lions proved they wouldn’t go out quietly as they took a 23-19 lead in the third set. As Dolson said, the Women of Troy came through, putting up a seven-point run at the end, including four kills from Chandler Haight and the match-ender from Tauchen for a 26-24 finale.
Overcoming adversity won the match, and, Dolson said, has been a recurring theme this season. “We faced a little bit of adversity this year, I think there was a lot of nay-sayers, non-believers… and with losing three big seniors last year (Madi Miller, Mikaela Morgan and Laynie Whitehead)… big shoes to fill… but we had a lot of experience that played last year at state, but I don’t think a lot of people believed in us.” The team got off to a little slower start than usual, he said. “We had a few losses that maybe we shouldn’t have had, but we hung in there.” The kids, he said, “did a great job of fighting through that adversity and we came together.”
Dolson also credited recent practice sessions, which he called the best practices of the year, as a key contributing factor in the win. “We were ready to play tonight,” he said.
Emma Norris led West with 11 kills while Greene and Haight had 10 each.
The win sent West to the state tournament for the second year in a row, and West’s 12th overall tournament appearance. West lost 3-1 to Bettendorf in the first round last year and was set to face them again this year in the first round on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

KILLS: E. Norris 11, C. Haight 10, C. Greene 10, A. Tauchen 7, E. Halverson 7, M. Fay 2.
ASSISTS: Fay 39, Norris 2, Tauchen 2, G. Delsing 1, Greene 1.
DIGS: K. Lang 19, Delsing 18, M. Ford 12, Norris 11, Haight 8, Tauchen 8, G. Klemme 5, Halverson 2, Greene 1.
TOTAL BLOCKS: Haight 2, Halverson 2, Tauchen 2, Greene 1, Norris 1.
ACE SERVES: Fay 1, Ford 1, Lang 1, Norris 1.