Iowa Central, Parkland meet on big stage

Iowa Central, Parkland meet on big stage

CEDAR RAPIDS - Twice already this season, Iowa Central and Parkland have stood opposite one another at the volleyball net.

Here on Friday night, they will do so at the NJCAA Div. II Championships. 

The Tritons and Cobras square off from inside Alliant Energy PowerHouse Arena at 6:30 p.m. The winner advances to Saturday's championship game to face either Cowley or defending champion Johnson County. 

For the majority of the season, these four have held the top spots in the rankings. They are the Top-4 seeds in the 16-field tournament. 

Iowa Central (42-1 overall) had to fight and claw its way past Heartland in the quarterfinals, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to win in five sets and reach the final four for a second consecutive season. They finished a program-best third in the spring. 

"Looking ahead to the semifinal match and to our last two matches in general, it's a really elite group of four top teams left," Iowa Central head coach Sara Horn said after Thursday's wins. "Everyone is going to put everything on the line, and I know we're excited to show what we have and to show what we've been working on all season up to this point. 

"We're really, really proud of the girls' fight, not only this weekend but this entire season. This is a strong team and we truly have become a family.  It will be our family against these other teams these next two days."   

Parkland handled Terra State in the quarterfinals in four and swept Richard Bland in the opening round. The Cobras held the No. 1 spot in the rankings before being knocked off by the Tritons in Fort Dodge earlier this year. 

Johnson County was also pushed to a fifth vs. Sauk Valley in the quarters, winning the first two and the fifth to advance. Cowley, the only team to defeat Iowa Central this year, hasn't dropped a set in two matches.

Live scoring for the match can be found here.

-By Dana Becker