MEDIAPOLIS — It was a dream come true for seven high school seniors, their teammates and their community Tuesday with a victory in a volleyball match that earned a Southeast Iowa Super Conference North Division championship for Winfield-Mount Union with a perfect 8-0 record.
Jami Wilkerson, Kyndal Townsley, Emma Haines, Jenna Buffington, Kayla Edwards, Molly Miller and Madie Anderson are the first seniors to defeat Mediapolis since 2001 and the first to win a conference title since 1996.
“We just had to fly to the ball, no matter where it was at,” Buffington said.
The Wolves were airborne all night blocking, diving, jumping, killing, then celebrating and it resulted in a sweep of 25-11, 25-16, 25-16 over longtime division powerhouse Mediapolis.
“This is where our experience paid off with seven seniors and five out there at any given time,” W-MU coach David Pieart said. “That enabled us to take the game over.”
W-MU took over in a number of ways. The Wolves pulled away from a 12-10 lead in the first set with Edwards serving (she had two aces) until it was 24-10.
The start of the second set was a masterpiece. The 14th W-MU point was the first unearned, a Mepo serve into the net. The first 13 points were scored by the Wolves’ offensive and defensive power. Buffington earned three of her 12 kills in the run, Melina Oepping one of her six, Madie Anderson one of her four, Keely Malone one of her three, Wilkerson one of her three, and Bradie Buffington one of her three blocks.
Malone and Edwards combined for 22 assists in the match. J. Buffington had four aces, and Ky. Townsley four.
Dig totals were Ky. Townsley 10, Wilkerson eight, J. Buffington eight, Edwards seven and Keetyn Townsley five.
“We knew this would be a battle because they have some upperclassman who are great players,” Mediapolis head coach Erin Steffner said. “They were better. Townsley is a great libero and when not much hits the floor.”
Starting for four years gives a player a lot of experience and confidence, which helped the Wolves in their incredible serve receive and when the third set was much closer than the first two, It was tied eight times, the last at 14. and Mepo called time down 17-14,
“There was a little more pressure and it was stressful, but it also made it exciting,” Kyndal Townsley said. “As seniors, we can handle it.” After the timeout, Mepo’s Josie Walter’s kill made it 17-15, but Oepping hit two of her three aces and a tip by J. Buffington made it 23-16.
“I think we got a little nervous and tentative, then after the time out, we just decided to play our game and do what we do,” J, Buffington said. “Our team has a lot of trust with each other.”
Trust helped back each other up thus no player was ever caught out of position.
“From experience, I know the exact spot to get to,” Ky. Townsley said. “It feels like it’s an honor to beat them.”
“When we play as a team, everyone is covering, and we were getting to everything,” J. Buffington said. “To beat them is a goal I had all through high school. This is very special because we are champions and we all dreamed of that. We worked really hard to get that and it paid off for us. We achieved it.”