By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
Clinton has to win one more game to earn a berth in the Class 5A state volleyball tournament.
The opponent for the River Queens is familiar — Mississippi Athletic Conference rival Bettendorf, on Tuesday in Davenport.
“We’ve already beaten Bettendorf once,” Clinton senior Alyssa Wing said. “They beat us before. It’s going to be a good game. We’re definitely ready for them.”
Clinton (21-9) won at Bettendorf in five games in the regular-season finale for both teams on Oct. 16 and lost to the Bulldogs 2-1 at the North Scott Tournament, early in the season.
“We had a pretty good focus down at their place,” Clinton coach Mark Massey said. “We have to play with consistency across the board, as well as intensity. I’m confident that we will.”
The past two seasons, the River Queens advanced to the regional semifinals. Clinton lost in five games to Marion Linn-Mar two years ago and in five games to Bettendorf last season.
“Linn-Mar we don’t really think about because it was only me and Mo on the team,” Wing said, referring to junior setter Monique Harris. “Last year, we lost to Bettendorf and it was really upsetting. We’re glad that we get to play Bettendorf because we want revenge. That’s basically our thing.”
Wing said the River Queens felt they let opportunities slip away in both game, especially last year when they led 2-1.
“I’m not saying they didn’t deserve it, but we felt we should have won,” she said. “We’re coming at them this year. They’re going to come at us, too. It’s going to be tough.”
Massey summed up Clinton’s key to winning pretty simply, saying the River Queens had to play better than the Bulldogs.
“If we pass-serve well — move our feet and pass — we become pretty good,” he said. “We’re going to hit the ball. There’s no question about that. We’ll block the ball. We want to serve well and get them out of system.”
Wing said winning could come down to intangibles.
“Focus, that’s our word, that’s our main thing,” she said. “Focus and next point. That’s what we say in timeouts, and that’s all we think about. If we focus and we play our game, we play to our full potential.
“We know how to win, put the ball away, pass-serve; we know how to do all that. We just need to focus, so we can do that.”
Clinton is ranked sixth in Class 5A and Bettendorf (19-11) is seventh.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Wing said. “We’re not going down without a fight.”