DEEANA LIRA

Waterloo senior middle hitter Deeana Lira goes up for a kill against Poynette Thursday, Oct. 21. Her Pirates went on to win the match, 3-0, to advance to the regional championship.

On Thursday, Oct. 22, Waterloo volleyball looked the part of a No. 2 seed in Sectional 3 of Division 3. The Pirates were dominant against No. 10 seed Poynette, winning 25-19, 25-14, 25-13 to advance to the regional championship against Randolph. 

While they were a No. 10 seed, the Pumas were no slouches. In the regular season, they had beaten some of the teams seeded higher than them but a subpar record in a tough Capitol - North conference held them back.

"I would have put them as a much higher seed," Waterloo head coach Christy Mosher said postgame. "That is a really solid team, they're not your average 10 seed."

As always, the Pirates were led by outstanding performances from juniors Sophia Schneider and Rylee Duessler. Duessler was particularly dominant in this one, the offense seemed to always flow to her. She sent a barrage of un-returnable shots at the Poynette defense, pacing the way as Waterloo surged to the victory. 

"We've really been working on pushing the tempo," Mosher said. "Rylee was really starting to click with Schneider in practice, and it's showing up in games now. Good timing as we're in the playoffs."

Waterloo's revamped approach will have to keep cooking if the Pirates want to advance past No. 3 seed Randolph. Mosher had to challenge at the seeding meeting to even get her squad the No. 2 seed over the Rockets. Ultimately, Lake Mills was the deciding factor as Waterloo had beaten the L-Cats while Randolph lost to them. 

In a quad last weekend, it was Waterloo that lost to Randolph. The Pirates pushed the Rockets but fell, 28-26, 25-22. 

ABBIE GIER

Waterloo senior outside hitter Abbie Gier hits the ball against Poynette Thursday, Oct. 21. The Pirates won, 3-0, to advance to the regional championship. 

"Randolph is an excellent team," Mosher said. "If we were to play 10 times, no one is going to win all 10. They run a 5-1 with a really talented setter. They push the tempo to the pins and have some size in the middle. The key for us will be the serve/pass game. It's all about who shows up and wants it more. That team will walk out of here with the regional championship."

Randolph will certainly make the Pirates earn it if they want that regional championship. The Rockets posted a perfect 7-0 record in the Trailways - West conference and an impressive 35-7 overall record.

So far in the playoffs, the Rockers have looked the part. They started off by dismantling Palmyra-Eagle 25-19, 25-7, 25-12 and beat Johnson Creek Thursday, 25-19, 25-10, 25-16. 

The Rockets are led on offense by outside hitter Carizma Muth. The junior can absolutely hammer the ball and leads the team with 380 kills. She had a whopping 21 against Johnson Creek in the last round. When Muth isn't firing off kills, senior Cassandra Alsum is another name to look out for. She's second on the team with 268 kills.

The tall setter Mosher mentioned earlier would be Jorey Buwalda. The 6' junior has 850 assists on the season. She's the linchpin that makes the offense go. Mosher was right, service will be huge. Finding ways to knock the Rockets out of their rhythm and not let the offense get cooking will be the difference in this game. 

The regional championship will take place Saturday, Oct. 23 at Waterloo High School at 7 p.m. CDT. 

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