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Waukee volleyball comeback bid upended by Urbandale

Sean Cordy
Correspondent
Chloe Jones serves for Waukee on Thursday, Oct. 22 during a regional matchup with Urbandale.

Five points is all that stood between Waukee and the regional championship. After losing the first two sets Thursday at Urbandale (11-7), the Warriors (13-17) captured all the momentum by winning the next two rounds to force a fifth and final set in the team's third match with the J-Hawks. 

With each team winning once in the previous two meetings, this was sudden death. Waukee faced a 9-6 deficit but forced the next four points to knot the game up after a Layanna Green shot tied the game up at 10-10.

Digging their heels in the ground, the J-Hawks responded to bring the game down to one final play with the 14-12 lead. A block and the net moments later locked up the W for Urbandale, putting an end to Waukee's comeback bid.

"We kind of let up those first two games, the nerves got the best of us. To go to a fifth set in general is hard," Waukee head coach Candice Palea said. "It's hard to come back down 2-0 but the girls battled and they battled hard. It's just one of those things where you've got to start from the very beginning."

Layanna Green with a shot against Urbandale on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Even with that two-set deficit, the Warriors played as close to the edge as possible and lost by six points total between the two rounds. Across all five sets, Waukee actually won 106-101. That plays right into the narrative of how close the battle was across the whole season for the two suburb rivals.

"The first time we played them, I think our nerves and energy got the best of us. Not taking anything away from Urbandale. They played great," Palea said. "They're a great team. That first time we didn't play our best. That second time we had a little more momentum and this game, it was two great teams battling it out."

In the end, Waukee's road comes to a close with the sight of the state tournament just out of reach. Ankeny Centennial, which the Warriors won four of six sets with this season, would have awaited Waukee in the regional title game. 

"I know the outcome isn't what we wanted it to be," Palea said. "I feel like our girls did ultimately end up playing better and as a coach that is all you can ask."

Ella Pedersen gets ready to serve on Thursday, Oct. 22.