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Gehlen pushes past R-U to regional finals

Monday, October 29, 2012

(Photo)
(Sentinel photo by Roy Tucker) Gehlen sophomore Morgan Whitehead powers the ball into and past the Remsen-Union defense during the playoff matchup at Akron Friday. Gehlen topped R-U 3-0 to advance to regional final play in Sioux Center Wednesday.
Gehlen's volleyball team will be making a bid for state at the region finals in Sioux Center on Wednesday after defeating Remsen-Union 3-0 at Akron Friday.

The Jays (20-10) took the reins early and never let up, winning the first set 25-13, then taking the second 25-16 and pushing through a 25-20 set to earn the win.

"We pretty much were in control -- even with the third game's score a little tighter, we were in control," said Gehlen head coach Mike Meyer. "This time of year, you hope everyone is playing well, and it was a solid night for us."

(Photo)
(Sentinel photo by Roy Tucker) Remsen-Union senior Brittany Weikel digs an attack to keep the ball in play during Friday's match with Gehlen, hosted in Akron. R-U fell to Gehlen, finishing the Rockets season 14-9. Weikel made eight digs during Friday's game.
The Jays stayed on the attack, hitting about .400, when their usual hitting average is about .280, Meyer said.

"We had a solid game of swinging and hitting," he said.

Senior Katelin Langel led the team in kills with 11.

Bailey Wiltgen made 7 kills and Morgan Whitehead and Hannah Kessenich added six each.

Abby Freking kept it coming with 30 assists for the night.

Meyer said the Jays were serving only about 80 percent compared to their usual 90 percent, but that didn't slow them down.

Shannon Smith was 13-for-14 serving with one ace and Emily Holtgrewe was 12-for-13 serving with two aces. Wiltgen's serving was 10-for-12 against the Rockets with three aces.

Kessenich and Whitehead made three blocks, while Alison Schnepf and Langel made two each.

Freking made 10 digs, Langel added eight and Smith seven.

No. 7 Gehlen met up with R-U earlier in the season and brought home a similar 3-0 win.

R-U coach Kelly Weiler said the Rockets had a good showing in Friday's matchup.

"Compared to the first time we played Gehlen this season, we did very well," she said. "I think we surprised some people from the first time. You can't be sad about how we played, because we played well."

For R-U, Hailey Loutsch led serving, going 10-for-10.

Courtney Loutsch was 7-for-8 serving with one ace, Brittany Sudtelgte went 7-for-7 with one ace, Taylor Weiler went 7-for-10, Karlie Hansen went 5-for-7 and Brittany Weikel went 4-for-5.

Sudtelgte led in kills with seven, while Weikel added five and Weiler four.

Hailey Loutsch made 8 assists for the night and Hansen made 7.

Sudtelgte led in blocks with two solo and three assisted.

Rachel West, Weikel and Weiler each made eight digs with Hailey Loutsch making five and Hansen four.

Weiler said the team will be graduating eight seniors this year including six starters.

"You could tell the seniors didn't want it to end," she said. "This group of seniors has played a lot of volleyball together."

Weiler said she was proud of how the Rockets played Friday.

"I couldn't have asked them to play any better," she said.

For the Jays, this will be Gehlen's fifth year in a row heading to the region finals.

Now there's just one team between the Jays and the Class 1A State Tourney: George Little Rock.

The underdog team surprised No. 5 Central Lyon in a five-game match Friday, finally pulling out a 3-2 win.

In Siouxland Conference play, the Mustangs fell to Central Lyon three times, but fought to the end to take home the victory, making their record 14-17.

"The Siouxland Conference is probably a tougher conference from top to bottom," Meyer commented on George-Little Rock's win Friday.

The Mustangs may be a force to reckon with, coming off a four-match winning streak, with each of those going into five sets.

"You've got to respect any team in a winning streak with an upset like that," Meyer said.

Gehlen and George-Little Rock haven't clashed in season play.

"We scrimmaged against them in the pre-season," Meyer said. "They're decent size, they play hard, and they're real competitive."

Gehlen hasn't gone to five games all year.

In fact, in each of their 20 wins, the Jays never gave up one set.

Meyer said he's not worrying about the unknowns of facing a team Gehlen hasn't played against during the season.

"As in the past, I always feel it's best to get yourself playing the best you can. If you focus on the other team, you start to make mistakes," he said.

Meyer said he's seen Gehlen's team continuously improve through the season.

"We had so many first-year players, and it's been real up and down at times, but we've won against all the teams we should win against," he said. "Our 10 losses have all been against quality teams."

The Jays face off with the Mustangs at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Sioux Center.



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