Iowa Rockets 15R volleyball team celebrated the July 4th Holiday with fireworks of their own, winning the USAV Junior Volleyball Championship in Columbus Ohio July 5th. The team qualified by winning the Iowa Regional Tournament in March, going undefeated. The Regional Title gave them a National bid to the USAV tournament. Once in Columbus, the team faced teams from all over the country. Their initial pool consisted of Sky High Black (Chicago, IL), Catalyst 15U (Pennsylvania), CJV15 Infinity (North Carolina), EPAN 12 (West Virginia) and Excel NW 15 (Texas). Rockets went undefeated in their first pool losing only one set to Excel. In game 3 of that match they were down 3-8 at the switch in set 3 and came back to win 15-13 behind the strong serving of Amanda Sahm (Marion). The second pool put them up against A5 Mizuno (Texas) and #1 seed, KC Power out of Kansas City. Rockets powered through these matches with dominating net play and stellar defense. In their cross over match, Rockets lost their second set of the tournament, taking Aspire 15 (Arizona) to three, winning game three 15-10. This win put them in the Gold Bracket for the final day, and a shot at the National Title. The final day of competition, Rockets played top shelf volleyball beating Laguna Beach out of Southern California in two sets, then faced a feisty Northern Lights (Minn) team in the Semi Finals. This match was a nail biter to the end. Rockets narrowly won set 1 25-23, then struggled with the Lights scrappy play losing set 2 18-25. Not to be denied, Rockets regrouped and started game three strong jumping to a 10-6 lead before the Lights stormed back to tie the set at 13-13. Back and forth, two determined squads fought for the final points. With the score tied at 14-14, Jordan Runge of Solon had a huge block to put Rockets up by one. Then with a perfect pass from Abby Phillips, (Marion), Morgan Melchert, (Mt. Vernon) was able to set up Madison Russell of West Branch for the kill on the outside. Rockets were off to the finals with an exciting 16-14 win.
On center court, the Rockets faced Sunshine 15 South Bay out of Southern California for the National Title. Set 1 narrowly went to the Rockets 25-23 with Mikaela Foecke of West Point taking control to score the final three points with crushing kills and a commanding net presence. Set two went to Sunshine in the same fashion, 23-25. This created up an exciting finale in set 3. With ACDC’s Back In Black playing over the loud speaker, it seemed like an omen that the Iowa Football Entrance song would be firing up the All Iowa Crowd. With teams from all over the great state of Iowa, cheering them on, the Rockets seemed confident coming onto the court and it showed with great defensive plays by Amanda Sahm (Marion) and All-Tournament team Libero,Riley Sents(Grundy Center), allowing All-Tournament Team setter, Morgan Melchert (Mt. Vernon) to set up all her options in the front court for great plays. Laynie Whitehead (Iowa City), Kayla Torson (Cedar Rapids) and Jordan Smith and Jordan Runge( of Solon) completed the great offense for the Rockets along with Tournament MVP Foecke’s dominant play, Rockets would not be denied. They celebrated their National Championship win with a final set score of 15-10.
Rockets went undefeated in match play and brought home the Clubs 3rd National Title. Rockets are an open try-out club based in Iowa City. The team was coached by David Rodgers and Darwin Sents.