CAMANCHE — The Camanche Indians pulled the upset, defeating two ranked teams to become River Valley Conference Champions on their home floor Thursday night.
“This is the volleyball team that I have been telling everyone about,” Coach Heather Clark said following the final handshakes.
“This is the end of the season and this is when we need to show up. Here we are.”
In the final round of the RVC tournament, the Indians came up against the Wilton Beavers, who the Indians lost to in the regular season.
The first set against the Beavers started out close. The Indians began to pull away early, and forced a timeout when the score was 10-6. That didn’t phase the Indians, who came right back out and got a kill off of a Sami Puckett attack.
Wilton battled back, and the score was tied 11-11. A kill gave them the lead, and then the Indians got a sideout to put it at 12-12. An ace gave them the lead again
A few big digs from the Camanche backrow set up junior Madi Parson and her front row perfectly and the Indians pulled ahead again. Wilton called another timeout with the score 19-15. The Indians didn’t let up and took the first set 25-20.
The second set started a bit different. The Beavers went on a run that threw the Indians out of system and took an 8-4 lead.
“We came out a little slow,” Madi Parson said.
The Indians didn’t panic. In fact, Clark didn’t even call a timeout.
“We talked about it. I asked Erin, my assistant, if I should use one early,” Clark said. “She said ‘No, they’ve got it’ and they took control of the ball game after that.”
The girls noticed the lack of timeout, too.
“The fact that she didn’t call a timeout kind of made us believe in ourselves,”Parson said. “We said we can do this on our own, we don’t need someone to get us together.”
“Coming from behind we knew we had to chip away, chip away. If you keep constantly chipping away you catch up, and that’s what we did.”
The lead switched hands for the next few points, but the Indians pulled ahead. A few big runs they found themselves leading 23-17.
Throw in two kills from Parson and a block from Haley Duran and the Indians were officially tournament champions.
That doesn’t mean the rest of the tournament was a walk in the park.
“We have so many ranked teams in our conference,” Clark said. “We are so proud of our girls.”
The first match of the night for the Indians was the North Cedar Knights. The Knights are one of eight teams in the River Valley Conference who have been in and out of the state rankings.
“We knew coming into the game that they were a quality team and that they had a couple good attackers so we’ve been working on getting that block up,” Assistant Coach Erin Schlotfeldt said following the North Cedar victory. “The girls came out and passed way better than they did Tuesday night. We got the passes up and were able to put the ball down.”
Parson agreed: “I loved it because they are the people that make me succeed. I can’t thank my passers and my setters enough.”
Camanche definitely didn’t waste any time. They jumped out to early leads and took both sets 21-18, 21-12.
The second game was a redemption game for the Indians, taking on No. 12 Iowa City Regina. The Indians lost to Regina when they met them previously in the year.Tonight, the Indians beat Regina in just two sets, 25-19, 25-11.
“It went amazing. That was the best volleyball we’ve played,” Clark said. “When we met them at their place, we just did not play well. This game was the opposite, we dominated them.”
Clark was especially happy with her blocking and her defense in the back row, but said the effort overall was the best part.
“It was just everything,” Clark said. “Their intensity, their passion showed tonight. Every single game we played we were fired up and ready to go.”
“This is how volleyball is supposed to be. This is so much fun to play and a great way to end our regular season.”