Herald Staff Report
WEST DES MOINES —
Marquette Catholic and Preston, ranked eighth and ninth in Class 1A, respectively, got perhaps an easier road to the state volleyball tournament than expected.
The Mohawks (22-5) and Trojans (22-5) are in Region 7. Last year, Marquette’s postseason run ended one game from state against Janesville, ranked fourth. Two years ago, Preston fell one game short of state, losing to Tripoli, No. 3.
This year, Janesville is in Region 5 and Tripoli is in Region 6, leaving Marquette and Preston as the only ranked teams in the region.
“We were quite surprised,” Marquette coach Jill Herrig said about avoiding Tripoli and Janesville. “We’re very delighted. It’s exciting, especially with seven seniors. Making it to state was one of our main goals and hopefully we can make the trip out there. We’re prepared to do that.”
Things won’t be easy for the Mohawks, especially with their rival Preston waiting in a possible regional semifinal.
“We know there’s some really tough competition,” Herrig said. “We’re hoping that we do well in that bracket. Preston is going to be tough regardless. We know them and they know us.”
Preston opens by hosting Midland and then would host the winner of Calamus-Wheatland vs. Springfield before another showdown in Bellevue. The Mohawks have a first-round bye and then host the winner of Rivermont Collegiate and Prince of Peace.
“The bye is really going to help us prepare,” Herrig said. “Being able to host is obviously a huge asset for any team. To have the support of the school and the town is going to help. We have great support.”
The regional semifinal where Marquette and Preston would face if both advance is Oct. 26, with the regional final in Marion on Oct. 31.
In Class 5A, Clinton, ranked seventh, hosts Dubuque Senior on Oct. 25 in its opening-round match in Region 6. If Clinton wins, the River Queens would play in the regional final on Oct. 30 at Davenport Central. The likely opponent is No. 8 Bettendorf, but Davenport West or Davenport Central are also possible.
In Class 3A, Camanche opens at Davenport Assumption on Oct. 22, while Northeast hosts Anamosa. The winners of those two matches meet Oct. 25 at Assumption in a regional semifinal. The final will be held Oct. 30 in Clarence.
In Class 4A Region 8, No. 9 Maquoketa and No. 5 North Scott each have first-round byes. Central DeWitt hosts Davenport North on Oct. 22 and with a win would travel to Maquoketa to face the Cardinals in a regional semifinal. The regional final is scheduled for Oct. 30 in DeWitt.
Bellevue opens Class 2A Region 7 play at Edgewood-Colesburg on Oct. 17 and with a win would play Clayton Ridge again in Edgewood on Oct. 23.