By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
GOOSE LAKE —
Northeast’s seniors weren’t ready to say goodbye to their volleyball careers Monday night in the first round of the Class 3A postseason.
The Rebels (16-15) led two games to one but were facing Anamosa’s third game point to send the match to a fifth game.
Senior Alyssa Anderson knocked down a kill to tie the game at 26. Then, senior Brittany Stoll served an ace to give Northeast a match point.
Then it was Anderson again. She closed out the Rebels’ 25-17, 12-25, 25-22, 28-26 win with her seventh kill of the night.
“I was really happy because I thought it was going to be my last game,” a visibly emotional Anderson said. “I was really happy.”
Northeast has eight seniors on its roster, and all of them extended their season at least until Thursday when the Rebels face No. 2 Davenport Assumption in the regional semifinal.
“We wanted to come out firing and win one for them,” said junior Addie Oberman, who had a team-high 14 kills. “We talked about that in the locker room before.”
Anamosa (5-22) led by a couple of points for most of Game 4. The Blue Raiders took a 19-16 lead on back-to-back Northeast errors, but then Oberman took over.
She had four kills — two on pushes — and served an ace in the next nine points to give the Rebels a 23-22 lead, their first in the game since 8-7.
“I figured that we had to take care of the ball and keep pushing forward,” Oberman said.
But Anamosa won the next two points to get the first of three game points. Northeast didn’t let the Blue Raiders capitalize on any of them.
“We kept talking and working together,” Anderson said.
“The kids all season long haven’t had any quit in them,” Northeast coach Brenda McKone said. “They try really hard and never give up. They know they can do it.”
Northeast, which has started slow all season, according to McKone, jumped to early 12-5 and 21-8 leads in Game 1.
“We were really pumped up and ready to go,” Anderson said. “We wanted to win really bad.”
Things didn’t go as well for the Rebels in Game 2. Anamosa led 6-2 and Northeast fought back, but then Anamosa took a 13-7 lead and Northeast couldn’t get closer than four the rest of the way.
“In Game 2, we kind of slowed down,” Oberman said. “We weren’t moving as quickly. We needed to step our game up, which we did in the next couple games.”
Game 3 was close throughout. After the score was tied at 11, neither team held a lead of more than two until the end of the game.
Abbey Hunt knocked down a kill for Anamosa to tie the score at 22. Then Stoll drilled a kill down the line to put the Rebels back on top. Breanne Butler then had a solo block, before Stoll finished the game with a cross-court push kill.
The Rebels changed liberos during the match because senior Morgan McAleer is still battling an illness.
“She got kind of worn out after the first couple games,” McKone said. “We put Tierra (Hildebrandt) in the libero suit and I thought she did a really nice job. We know that she can do it. ... I thought Tierra really stepped it up tonight and hustled after everything. She was one of our stronger players this evening.”
Northeast had two weeks off before its postseason opener, and McKone said it helped the team.
“The two weeks off was good for us,” she said. “The way we came out in the first game was what I hoped to see all night. When they got tight, they got back into some bad habits. So we’ll keep working and get back to basics. Luckily, we can still win when we don’t play our best.”
Next up for the Rebels is a trip to Davenport Assumption (26-7), which swept Camanche on Monday night.
Assumption beat the Rebels in two games during the Northeast tournament, but McKone thought her team played them tough for the most part.
“We need to get them out of system so their strong hitters can’t hit down at us,” Anderson said.
“We need to cover the lines and stay low on defense,” Oberman said.
“We’re going to have to step up on defense and take care of the ball a little bit better than we did tonight,” McKone said. “I think we’ve got a shot at it.”
NORTHEAST 25-12-25-28, ANAMOSA 17-25-22-26
Northeast statistical leaders
Kills — Addie Oberman 14, Breanne Butler 9, Brittany Stoll 9, Alyssa Anderson 7. Assists — Lindsey Schmidt 16, Courtney Stoll 16. Ace serves — Butler 4, Oberman 3, Schmidt 2, Shelby Bormann 2. Blocks — Butler 1, Ashley Kruse 1. Digs — Oberman 9, Tierra Hildebrandt 7, Butler 4, Peyton Gray 4.