We’ve made room for a small school (Starmont) in our end-of-the-regular-season top 10.
At least one of them (Benton Community or Vinton-Shellsburg) will be finished after tonight. They play in a 3A regional quarterfinal.
Here we go:
1. MOUNT VERNON (34-1) – Mustangs have re-entered the national top-50 (they’re at No. 48) by prepvolleyball.com. They’ve shown a few signs of tightness in recent weeks, but were at their best in a blitzing of Waterloo Columbus in the Wamac Conference finals.
2. IOWA CITY WEST (35-3) – Were closing in on Mount Vernon before an unexpected loss against Dubuque Hempstead. Easily won the MVC tournament championship. Ranked 67th nationally by prepvolleyball.com.
3. CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY (31-7) – When they’re on, they’re brilliant. When they’re lethargic, they’re average. Lately, the Cougars have been on more often than not. Kennedy is the only team this season to solve Mount Vernon.
4. MARION (40-6) – That’s a lot of matches. Indians are ranked second in Class 3A, but face a regional that becomes quite difficult in the second round. If they get through it, though, they don’t have to face either Mount Vernon or Sioux City Heelan until the state final.
5. WEST DELAWARE (32-8) – This isn’t a team you want to be playing right now. The Hawks will ball-control with the best of them (how’s that for volleyball jargon?). They’ve given Mount Vernon fits twice now in tournament play.
6. CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE (28-6) – Hawks were outstanding early in the season and earned a title share in the MVC Valley Division. Prairie got an extremely friendly postseason draw.
7. CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON (24-10) – Worst to first. That’s what the Warriors have accomplished in Kari Lombardi’s first season, sharing the MVC Valley Division title with Washington and Waterloo East — and beating both.
8. STARMONT (27-3) – The area’s only ranked team in either 1A or 2A. The Stars were regular-season champions of the Tri-Rivers Conference.
9. BENTON COMMUNITY (25-11) – Other than Washington, nobody in the area has been a more pleasant surprise than the Bobcats. Tonight’s Benton County matchup should be a dandy.
10. VINTON-SHELLSBURG (21-10) – Vikettes have a loyal, vocal following. And a very nice squad in Stephanie Francois’ first season as coach.