IMS earns No. 4 seed for Southeast Iowa Superconference tourneyIMS to face Winfield-Mount Union for the third time this season
The pairings for the annual Southeast Iowa Superconference volleyball tournament are out.
It’s only fitting that IMS and Winfield-Mount Union got paired together in the same pool as the No.4 and 5 seed, respectively.
The two schools have already met twice just 17 matches into the season with IMS sweeping the first three sets, before being pushed to a five-set win.
“Winfield-Mount Union is right behind us,” head coach Dwight Gingerich said. “We have had two great battles with them, so it doesn’t surprise me that things worked out as they did.”
In the second meeting last Tuesday, the largest margin of victory was five points until the final set, when IMS took an 11-1 lead before winning 15-5.
“I’m sure Winfield will be another great battle,” Gingerich said.
In the latest match-up with Winfield-Mount Union, senior Olivia Yutzy tied the school record for second in kills in a match with 31. Senior Casey Perez had 48 assists to take over the second spot on the school list. Senior Kristin Davis had 31 digs, which put her No. 2 in the school record books.
Iowa Mennonite opens with Van Buren, Thursday, at 5 p.m. at Cardinal.
The rest of IMS’s group includes Cardinal, Van Buren and Louisa-Muscatine. The top two teams from each pool advance to the championship round on Saturday, in Burlington at Southeastern Community College.
Gingerich hopes to compete with the three top seeds in the next round.
“Our goal is to be in the championship bracket with (New London, Holy Trinity and Mediapolis),” he said. “We want to play well and advance.”
In addition to its high seed, IMS touts a No. 12 Associated-Press ranking ahead of this tourney, thanks in large part to a 2-0 record against Winfield-Mount Union.
“Winfield-Mount Union had been ranked seventh when we knocked them off. It’s fun for the kids. It is pretty early in the season. We just hope to keep improving. The rankings only mean so much when you get on the court. It is a nice recognition for our kids.”
After a 4-6 start to the season, IMS has piled up seven wins in a row, including a title at the Wilton tourney.
“We started to play tighter as a team,” Gingerich said. “We are fortunate to be healthy. It’s a blessing. I am seeing individual improvement from everyone. They are responding well in practice and doing what I ask of them.”
The slow start was due to a rugged and unforgiving early season schedule.
Gingerich got out of it what he had hoped, which was to test the team and give them feedback.
“We are working to find a mix that plays well together,” he said. “We are trying to be scrappy and not let anything hit the floor. Right now I feel we are doing a pretty good job of that. We aren’t making the same mistakes we were making early in the season.”
With Mediapolis taking the No. 2 seed, there is a good chance IMS will face them again. In their lone meeting IMS suffered a 3-0 defeat.
“Mediapolis is very good,” he said. “They have tremendous size. They are very skilled and very talented. I was encouraged by some things I saw even in that loss. I saw the team getting better. Individuals stepped up that I hadn’t seen before.”
Holy Trinity is the clear favorite, losing just two sets out of 41 with a 21-1 record.
Junior Mikaela Foecke headlines the list of high-caliber players in the tournament. She has 216 kills through 41 sets for a 5.27 average. She has .61 aces per set.
“Holy Trinity is very good,” he said. “If you look at their scores they are dominating people. They have one loss to a 5A school. They have an outstanding middle hitter, in 6-foot-4 (Mikaela Foecke). She is being recruited by everybody.”
Other area schools in the field include Highland and Columbus, which earned 6 and 14 seeds, respectively. Columbus will be the tournament site host. Columbus plays New London at 5 p.m. Highland opens against Wapello at 5 p.m.
WACO opens against Holy Trinity at Maharishi at 5 p.m.