What About the Other Regional Finals

Sixteen teams in eight 1A regional final match-ups will face off Wednesday night to punch their tickets for the state tournament.

The one that matters around here will be in Clarinda as Stanton and Sidney play for one of the eight spots. Matt covered and broke down the final with this post.

What about the remaining 14 teams fighting for the other seven spots?

One of those regional finals features the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1A, a.k.a. Central Lyon. They'll take on Bishop Garrigan in the Region 1 final, which takes place in Hartley.

At 29-5, Central Lyon will try to make it to its third straight state tournament. Last year, the team from Rock Rapids made it all the way to the championship final, but they were swept by Holy Trinity Catholic.

How did the Lions of Lyon County get to be No. 1? It helps when you play in the Siouxland Conference, which also features third ranked in Class 3A Sioux Center, plus other large schools.

Central Lyon has a lot going for it, mostly hope. By hope, I mean Hope Rasmussen, who is third in the Siouxland in kills with 234.

Bishop-Garrigan found itself in the Region 1 final thanks to its upset win over 15th-ranked Harris-Lake Park.

The Golden Bears of Algona appeared to be in trouble after losing three of its last four matches going into the regional tournament. However, Bishop-Garrigan stepped up and is now a win away from its first state tournament appearance in school history.

Johanna Vaske has been the spark for the Golden Bears, leading the Top of Iowa Conference (West) in kills with 399.

The Region 2 final features Gehlen Catholic of LeMars taking on George-Little Rock in Sioux Center.

Gehlen Catholic has made it to the state tournament eight times, including six straight years. The Jays finished third in the War Eagle Conference behind Unity Christian (No. 2 in 2A) and Hinton.

Back row play is so important in volleyball and that's certainly the case for Gehlen Catholic's Carly Bunkers, who led the War Eagle Conference in digs with 499.

George-Little Rock rallied back in the quarterfinals to defeat Trinity Christian 3-2. They swept Kingsley-Pierson and will try to make it to the state tournament.

Kaley Arends is important for the Mustangs. Arends is second in the Siouxland Conference in assists with 610.

The Region 4 final features Audubon looking for its first ever state tournament appearance as they take on Grand View Christian in Guthrie Center.

Audubon got off to a solid start early in the season. The regular season ended roughly for the Wheelers as they lost four straight, including 3-2 to Underwood in the Western Iowa Conference tournament. Audubon regained its composure with sweeps against Coon Rapids-Bayard and Adair-Casey. Kaitlin Schultes is currently fourth in the WIC in kills with 223.

The school formerly known as Grandview Park Baptist made its first state tournament appearance last season, defeating Stanton in the regional final. The stay for Grand View Christian wasn't long as they were swept by Janesville in the state quarterfinals.

The Thunder are seventh in the 1A rankings and easily won the tough Bluegrass Conference. Katie Hall's 244 kills is third best in the Bluegrass Conference.

Janesville and Iowa Valley will face each other in the Region 5 final, which takes place in Reinbeck.

If there is one team that is certainly not a stranger to the bright lights of the US Cellular Center, it's Janesville. The Wildcats have made it to five straight state tournaments, including one state title in 2013.

This year's team, ranked third, might not have as strong a record as Central Lyon or Sidney, but don't let that fool you. Look at some of the losses they've had this season: Tripoli, Dike-New Hartford, West Delaware, Linn-Mar (all except Tripoli were in tournaments). These are all superbly talented volleyball teams and all (except for Tripoli) play in larger classes. Karlee Boyle sets up the offensive attack for Janesville. Boyle leads the Iowa Star Conference (North) in assists with 797.

Iowa Valley has never made it to the state tournament. That is quite the wall in front of the Tigers. They've played Janesville before. They played at the Vinton-Shellsburg tournament, which ended in a 2-0 Janesville victory. Iowa Valley has the benefit of entering the regional final as South Iowa Cedar League champions. Marissa Ward's 319 kills leads both Iowa Valley and the SICL.

Region 6 features Tripoli against Don Bosco as that regional final takes place in Dunkerton.

Everything I wrote about Janesville, can also easily be said about Tripoli. This small Bremer County school is one of the best 1A volleyball teams every year. They've made 16 appearances at the state tournament, winning 11 state titles. Trust me when I say this about Tripoli: Volleyball is in their blood.

The Panthers have not won a state title since 2012. They're hungry and looking to add to their large trophy case.

Don Bosco has made it to the state tournament twice, the last time being in 2009. The Dons do have the benefit of getting a win in a full match over Tripoli. However, that was the second match of the season and it took place in Gilbertville.

Maquoketa is the site for the Region 7 final as Marquette Catholic takes on Springville.

Marquette Catholic took a set on Central Lyon in the state quarterfinals last season, but it wasn't enough as they were eliminated early. The Mohawks of Bellevue were the top team in the Tri-Rivers (East) Conference, going 5-0. Anna Ambrosy's a key back row player for Marquette Catholic, as she was first in the Tri-Rivers (East) with 337 digs.

Springville has two state tournament appearances, the most recent being in 2013. The Orioles have not lost since a Sept. 26 weekend tournament against North Cedar. Megan Wagaman is second in the Tri-Rivers (West) Conference in kills with 330.

The defending state champions will play in the Region 8 final as Holy Trinity Catholic takes on New London in Fort Madison. The Crusaders of Fort Madison won their first ever state title last season, with Mikaela Foecke leading the way. They might not have Foecke this time around. That won't stop the Crusaders from going for back-to-back titles.

New London has made seven state tournament appearances since 2000, including last season when they were eliminated in the quarterfinals against Tripoli. New London has its work cut out. They've lost all four times they've played Holy Trinity Catholic this season.

Wednesday night could be very interesting. Eight teams will hoist the state volleyball qualifier banner in celebration. The only question is, which teams will it be?