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Iowa volleyball: Neither snow, nor Cardinals block Orabs

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Sheldon junior Jena Van Marel (4) and senior Jessica Van Beek (6) defend the net Tuesday in Estherville, Iowa. The Orabs beat Garner-Hayfield/Ventura to qualify for the state volleyball tournament.

ESTHERVILLE, Iowa — The Sheldon volleyball team executed the old adage of finishing what you start to perfection Tuesday night.

On a snowy night, Iowa Class 3A’s second-ranked Orabs ran into a buzz saw against Garner-Hayfield/Ventura in their third set and trailed 15-13.

Sheldon (34-4) did what was needed down the stretch, finishing the quick work it started and sweeping the Cardinals in the Class 3A Region 1 Final in Estherville for a trip to state.

Set scores for the Orabs were 25-16, 25-18, 25-15.

“With the snow and all, it was a rough start even getting here. I would say that a slow trip home will be alright as long as we have the (state qualifer) banner on the bus,” Sheldon coach Eric Maassen said with a smile after the match.

The Orabs led throughout the opening set and took advantage of several miscues from G-H/V. Sheldon led at three different junctures by five points before the Cardinals sliced the lead to 14-13.

Sheldon senior Jessica Van Beek provided two sparks from the service line, one early and one late, to help put the second frame away. Mackensey Radke had an ace late in the set that gave her team a 23-17 spread and eventually the set.

G-H/V roared back with a third set that gave Sheldon a scare. The Cards built a 7-2 lead early on in the stanza only to see it disappear moments later. Sheldon roared back to tie the set at 15-15.

A big run for the team from junior Sami Kleinwolterink finished off the match as Sheldon held the Cards scoreless from that point on for the decisive 25-15 win.

“I thought it was time for me to get my serves in. I hadn’t done that well tonight. I thought it was my time to finish it out,” Kleinwolterink said. “Our motto this season has been that ‘it’s not over’.”

With its sweep, the season isn’t over for the Orabs, as they advance to Cedar Rapids for the third time in the past five years. They reached the state tournament in both 2009 and 2011.

Kleinwolterink finished with eight service aces in Tuesday’s win and Van Beek offered a team-best 17 kills and 10 digs.

“It was bad weather coming up here and the officials even had a hard time getting here. As a coach, I think your job is to worry that you won’t be ready to play,” Maassen said. “I was happy with how we started.

“We didn’t play our best volleyball tonight, but we’ve talked all season about how we just need to play well enough to get the job done,” Maassen added. “I thought the girls did that tonight.”

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson is the Daily Globe sports writer. He hails from southwest Iowa and served as sports editor at the Audubon County Advocate Journal there for 2 ½ years before moving to Worthington in October 2013. Caleb trys to enjoy life and everybody that he meets. He enjoys music, playing guitar and drums, and is an avid sports fan. 
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