It was high school volleyball regional championship night around the state on Thursday night. The United Red Storm hosted a class 1A regional at the Fieldhouse at United High School. The Red Storm hadn’t claimed a regional championship plaque since 2016. Their opponents in the title tilt were the West Prairie Cyclones. The perennial power Cyclones garnered a class 1A state title in 2016, placed 3rd in 2013 and finished 4th in 2008. United had beaten West Prairie twice during the regular season and beating a team three times in one season has historically been difficult. Coming into last night’s match, this year’s Red Storm squad had prior precedent of bucking that trend, beating West Central for the 3rd time this season in the semifinals on Wednesday night.
The Red Storm came out strong, winning set one 25-18. West Prairie responded by taking a big lead late in set two, but the Red Storm rallied late, almost coming all the way back to win before falling 25-23. United carried that late momentum into set three, getting out to an early 8-1 lead. They would hold on to get a 25-16 victory, setting off a wild celebration.
Callie Mason was outstanding all night, smashing 23 kills for United. She also led the Red Storm in service aces with five and also tied for the team lead in digs with nine. Taylor Turnquist and Reece Bertlesen also totaled nine digs each. Cameron Anderson handed out 19 assists and Emrick Huston had 14 helpers. With the win, United improves to (23-12) and will move on to next week’s Princeville sectional.
Joining United in Princeville will be two other Lincoln Trail Conference schools. All three schools finished in the top-3 spots in the LTC regular season standings. Regular season champ Annawan beat Henry-Senachwine at the Henry-Senachwine regional and sport a record of (27-6). Wethersfield knocked off Putnam County in straights sets at the Putnam county regional. Wethersfield will take a (26-6-1) record to Princeville. Also headed to the Princeville sectional will be (28-4-1) Illini Bluffs.
Prairie Communications Sports Director, Shawn Temple caught up with United head coach Courtney Young following the match last night at United. Here’s what Coach Young had to say.