By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND ? The WACO volleyball tournament has become an annual beginning to volleyball season in Henry County, with eight teams battling every year for early bragging rights.
On Monday night, the Warriors hosted their annual tourney and put on quite a show, advancing all the way to the championship match before getting knocked out in second place.
The Warriors were placed in the first pool, along with Columbus, Wapello and Pekin. WACO dominated in pool play, going 6-0 in sets to sweep each of their three opponents.
WACO opened the night with Columbus, and after knocking the Wildcats off in straight sets, did the same to Wapello.
The Warriors beat the Wildcats 21-13 and 21-12, getting four kills each from Clara Schmitz and Aubrey Garnsey along the way.
In the Wapello match, WACO took sets 21-15 and 21-10. Nadiyah Brown had three kills.
After a bye in the third round of pool play, the Warriors got set for a defacto semifinal match against Pekin.
The Panthers had swept Columbus and clawed past Wapello in three sets, winning the third game 15-13. That meant both Pekin and WACO were 2-0 going into their final pool play game.
WACO had three players hit the five-kill threshhold against Pekin. Schmitz, Kristen Conley and Morgan Graber all finished the final pool play game with five to co-lead the squad.
The first set was back and forth but WACO built a lead midway through the game and clung on despite a late Panther rally. The Warriors took the first set 21-19 to snatch a 1-0 lead and take a ton of momentum into the second.
In the second game, WACO blew out the Panthhers, more than doubling them up, 21-10, to clinch the 3-0 pool play record and their spot in the championship game.
In the other pool, West Burlington came out on top over Van Buren, Centerville and Sigourney. The Falcons came in to the championship with a 3-0 pool play record as well.
Game one of the championship was tight early on. WACO took an early lead but the Falcons rallied back and eventally ran away with the set 25-15. West Burlington held a steady lead throughout the second set, taking it 25-20 to lock up the tournament championship.
Van Buren ran over Pekin in the consolation finals to take third place. VB won the first game 25-11 and the second game 25-14 to bump Pekin to fourth.
WACO won?t be back in action until September. The Warriors will head to a triangular at English Valleys on Saturday, Sept. 1.