Marion and Tripoli capture state volleyball titles - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Marion and Tripoli capture state volleyball titles

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- Saturday, the Marion Indians and Tripoli Panthers found themselves as the last ones standing at the state volleyball tournament, but these teams couldn't have done it any more differently.

3A Marion arrived at state for just third time in school history in search of their first championship.  1A Tripoli was looking for their seventh title in tournament appearance number ten.

In the semifinals, the senior laden Indians found themselves down two games to zero against the two time defending champs from Sioux City Bishop Heelan.

"Our shirts say what once was a dream is now our reality, and that's what we played with the entire tournament," said Marion senior Brittney Thomas, "We knew to push through we had to use our hearts and get all the way through. We had to fight back."

Marion never gave in, winning the fifth set in dramatic fashion 17-15

Getting to state may have been the hardest part for the Panthers.  They beat twice defending champions Wapsie Valley in the regional semifinals in an epic five set match.  Then, Tripoli steamrolled their way to the finals dropping just one game in the first two tournament matches.

"Nothing is ever easy," said Tripoli senior Elizabeth Platte, "We can beat any team and any team can beat us.  It's just how we play and if we are up to par in what we're doing."

Marion rode Friday's momentum and stormed out to a 2-0 lead against Mount Vernon, who had lost just one match all season.  The Mustangs, with future UNI [anther Shelby Kintzel in the middle, sent it to five, but the Indians knew what it took to stop a comeback.

"We didn't want to let them take what we got yesterday," said Marion senior Sam Rinehart, "We didn't want to let them take that from us and we just worked hard and just did what we know how.  And look, it worked out for us, we're state champions."

AGWSR with their two future college Panthers led the high school Panthers 2-0 in the blink of an eye, but youthful Tripoli led by freshman middle blocker Megan Gilbert refused to give up.  Before the Cougars knew what hit them, the panthers were back dancing in the winner's circle...

"We just wanted to bring it back," said Tripoli freshman Megan Gilbert, "and we worked so hard through our tournament trail.  We did it."

Marion graduates four starters while Tripoli will return five starters in 2009.

Online Reporter: Mark Woodley

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