ANAMOSA — After two close-as-can-be sets, the Northeast and Anamosa volleyball teams found themselves right where they started.
Now, Monday’s 3A Region 7 quarterfinal turned into a battle of who could win two of the next three games.
That turned out to be the Rebels, who claimed both the third and fourth sets to avenge a pair of earlier losses to the Blue Raiders in a 26-24, 23-25, 25-18, 25-17 victory.
The win advances the Rebels to the semifinals and a date with the class’ new top-rated squad, Davenport Assumption, which rolled by Camanche in three sets.
Just like their River Valley North match a month earlier, the Rebels and Blue Raiders battled through a tight opening set that exceeded the normal 25-point threshold with the Rebels breaking through late for the 26-24 win.
The early victory was big, but the Rebels’ answer to Anamosa’s own close win in the second set was just as crucial.
In their previous meeting, the Blue Raiders won the tight opening set and then carried that momentum into two more comfortable victories for a sweep.
This time, the Rebels answered the host’s victory by picking up a seven-point triumph in the very next set and then clinched the match with a similar win in the fourth set.
Northeast put down 38 kills behind a strong night from the trio of Alyssa Fowler, Aubrie Kruse and Clare Mulholland, who combined for 29 kills themselves.
Senior Ellie Rickertsen assisted on 15 of the kills with Elly Cain adding 13 of her own.
Fowler made an impact at the net on defense, too, as she got her hands on nine blocks (Rickertsen had three). Leah Mangelsen added a team-high 12 digs, while Claire Empen had eight.
The Rebels picked up 15 big points on aces. Mulholland served up five, while Cain and Mangelsen both had three and Fowler and Empen two.
Northeast wrapped up its regular season by taking part in the 14-team River Valley Conference tournament.
After dropping three pool matches, the Rebels scored some late momentum by taking down Camanche in straight sets before going a full three sets in a setback to Cascade — a squad that had swept them in their divisional matchup — in the consolation bracket of the tournament.
Northeast had 14 kills in its 21-15, 21-12 victory over the Storm. Mulholland and Fowler combined for 10 of them, while Rickertsen and Mangelsen each had two. Rickertsen also dished out six assists, while Cain had five assists.
Empen paced the defensive effort with eight digs, while Mulholland had six, Rickertsen five and Emily Johnson and Mangelsen four apiece.
The Rebels took the first set against the Cougars, but Cascade rebounded to take the second and then won a close battle to 15 in the third set for a 18-21, 21-17, 15-13 victory.
Mulholland put down a team-high five kills with Kruse, Mangelsen and Fowler each adding two. Rickertsen dished out seven assists as Cain added four.
Northeast amassed a whopping 52 digs in the match as all 10 players who saw action came up with at least one. Mangelsen led the way with 11, while Johnson had nine, Mulholland eight and Rickertsen. The Rebels added 10 blocks with Fowler and Mangelsen combining for six.
Cain and Mangelsen both served up two aces with Rickertsen and Mulholland each chipping in one.
Both Fowler and Mulholland had seven kills to lead the Rebels during pool play — Northeast faced off against North Cedar, West Liberty and Durant — while Rickertsen had six kills and 15 assists (Cain chipped in 14 assists).
Mangelsen led the defensive charge with 18 digs and also served up three aces. Empen and Mulholland also finished with double-digit digs — the former had 15, the latter 10 — while Kruse came up with three blocks and Mulholland served up two aces.