DES MOINES — The road to state won’t be easy for area volleyball teams, with teams finding out Friday what their routes will look like for sure when the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union unveiled regional brackets.
Clinton — and all the other area teams — will need to pull off an upset or two — or more — to qualify for the state tournament. Everyone has at least one ranked team in its regional.
The River Queens escaped tough Mississippi Athletic Conference matchups, drawing, instead, the No. 6 Regional in Dubuque. But should Clinton make it through its first-round home game against either Cedar Rapids Kennedy or Waterloo East, it will likely run up against No. 4-ranked Dubuque Hempstead in the region’s championship.
The Mustangs drew cross-town rival Dubuque Senior in their semifinal match. Both Clinton and Hempstead play at 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 in their respective matches.
“I think that they’re probably pretty fair,” Clinton coach Mark Massey said. “To get to state you’ve got to beat some good teams to get there. That certainly won’t be any different for us this year.”
Hempstead is 20-3, with one of those losses coming to No. 1 Bettendorf. The Bulldogs, also in the MAC, play in Region 8 with conference foes Davenport Central, Davenport West, Burlington and Muscatine. Elsewhere in the MAC, Class 5A, No. 8 Pleasant Valley drew Region 7, shared with No. 9 ranked Iowa City West.
“The constants are, respect your opponent, bring the best that you can, but don’t be afraid of them,” Massey said. “If people have a mindset that they’re going to open up the brackets and get a Christmas gift, then going to state wouldn’t mean much. Every year Clinton’s gone to state, we’ve had to beat teams that have had excellent seasons and in some cases were favorites.