Sidney earns fourth straight state appearance

CRESTON, Iowa — It’s not supposed to be this easy to get to the state tournament.

The fourth-ranked Sidney Cowgirls rolled to their fourth consecutive state volleyball tournament, beating unranked Pella Christian, 25-11, 25-6, 25-11, Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Creston High School.

The Cowgirls were impressive everywhere, but especially in the middle as juniors Kelsey Hobbie and Makenna Jarosz combined for 20 kills and just two errors on 25 swings, a ridiculous .720 hitting percentage.

Camryn McClintock added nine kills and 10 digs for the Cowgirls while Jaden Daffer led the back line with 15 digs. Olivia Larsen handed out 27 assists.

The incredible performance gave Sidney its 34th consecutive win and an overall record of 38-2. The Cowgirls advance to a state quarterfinal, Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m. against Tri-Center at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

“I was pretty relaxed all day,” Sidney coach Amy McClintock said after the match, “but when you get to this point every coach has some nerves going. When you look at their roster and their size you wonder how the girls are going to respond. They played well.”

The Cowgirls set the tone early, using an 11-1 run to take control of the first set at 14-5. Hobbie led the charge offensively, putting away six winners in a stretch of 10 Cowgirl points as Sidney raced to a 19-8 lead and won 25-11.

“They couldn’t stop Kelsey up front,” said Coach McClintock. “We had some great digs and some really cool plays tonight.”

A 10-0 run in the early stages of the second set gave the Cowgirls a 14-2 lead as they raced to a 25-6 set win with an ace by Hobbie ending the set.

Sidney didn’t let the Eagles claim any sort of momentum in the third and final set, scoring the first eight points, and then adding a 7-0 run to lead 18-3. A 5-0 run by the Eagles — whose season ended with a 20-18 overall record — made the 25-11 third set score closer than it could have been.

Daffer and McClintock are the only two seniors in the Cowgirl’s regular rotation, and Coach McClintock said it’s pretty special that those two will get to play in a fourth state tournament.

“Your seniors are always ready,” said coach McClintock. “People start expecting this out of you, so it’s tremendous pressure at this point because you have done it for a few years. These kids have put in a lot of time and every year it’s special for the seniors to get it.”

Sidney now sets its sights on staying in Cedar Rapids for more than a day. The Cowgirls have lost their state opener two straight years after finishing second in Class 1A three years ago.

Coach McClintock said the goal is to get at least one more win, and they will see a familiar foe in the quarterfinals. The Cowgirls beat Tri-Center 2-1 at the Clarinda Tournament on the season’s second Saturday.

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