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Iowa volleyball: No. 8 Mount Vernon upsets Sheldon at state

The eighth-ranked Mustangs (now 26-10) ended Sheldon’s season in straight sets 25-17, 25-16, 25-21. Sheldon’s season closes at 34-5 as Mount Vernon advanced to Thursday afternoon’s Class 3A semifinal round. The Mustangs will face the winner of a tilt this afternoon between Kuemper Catholic and Red Oak.

“In transitioning from defense, we were a little slow getting into our offense,” Sheldon coach Eric Maassen said of his team’s match at state. “They’re a great defensive team and we just struggled to score points against them.”

Sheldon fell quickly in its first set to Mount Vernon. The Mustangs put together a 6-2 edge early before Sheldon came back and trailed 12-10. MV’s Emma Cochrane and Wynne Vandersall each recorded key points for the Mustangs to help give their team a 1-0 lead for the match.

The Mustangs took a commanding 7-2 lead in the second set and later nudged its lead to 16-5 with a six-point surge. The Orabs could only come within six points in the set.

Sheldon tied the third frame at 9-9 before Mount Vernon ripped off four straight and wouldn’t look back. Sheldon pulled within two points at 18-16 before Mount Vernon finished off the sweep.

Mount Vernon senior Hannah Whitley led her team with 13 kills while Cochrane added 10. Junior setter Morgan Melchert finished with 33 set assists. The Orabs were led by senior Jessica Van Beek’s 12 kills.

Sheldon graduates nine players from this year’s team. Four were members of the 2011 Orabs that also reached state.

“I’m really proud of the team. We’ve battled every time out, all season long. The girls have bought in and have done everything we’ve asked of them,” Maassen said. “As a coach, you hope you improve every time out there. I feel like we’ve accomplished that this season.”