Tigers triumph over Johnston, will face Pleasant Valley for state title in PowerHouse

No. 4 Cedar Falls defeated No. 10 Johnston to clinch a spot in the 5A state championship game on Thursday. 

The Tigers jumped to an early 9-3 lead in the first set of the victory over the Johnston Dragons. Johnston battled back and even took a 17-16 lead before Cedar Falls’ 8-4 run. Trailing 24-21, Johnston scored three in a row to tie the Tigers at 24. Back-to-back kills from junior Katie Remmert closed out the first set in favor of the Tigers. 

Cedar Falls got ahead early again in set two, 7-3. The Dragons went on a 5-2 run to cut the Tigers lead to one. Five straight for Cedar Falls put them up 14-8, causing a Johnston timeout. The Tigers never looked back, closing out the second set with a 25-18 win after a kill from junior Summer Halsor. 

In the third set, Cedar Falls once again got the best of Johnston early, gaining a 3-0 lead. Johnston bounced right back and tied it up at 3 before taking a 10-8 lead over the Tigers. Four straight points put Cedar Falls back on top for good. A senior Alivia Bronner ace put them up 18-14. The Tigers went on to score 7 of the next 11 and close out the match in a 3-0 sweep of the Dragons. 

Remmert led the team with 16 kills to go along with Bronner’s 20 digs and junior Nohea Mahi’s 33 assists. Bronner added five aces in the Tiger’s semi-final win. 

The Tigers will be playing in their fifth state championship in the last six years and look to claim their third title in that stretch, whereas Pleasant Valley will be making their first ever state championship appearance. Cedar Falls (32-8) will take on No. 2 Pleasant Valley (32-4) Thursday at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids at 10 a.m. for the right to call themselves the 5A volleyball state champions.

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