Iowa Central-Parkland set for semifinal showdown

Iowa Central-Parkland set for semifinal showdown

CEDAR RAPIDS - When the brackets were revealed for the NJCAA Div. II Volleyball Championships, all signs pointed to an epic semifinal showdown between Iowa Central and Parkland.

That stage is now set, as both advanced Tuesday into the final four here at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse Arena.

Action begins at 6:30 p.m. between the third-seed Tritons and No. 2 Cobras.

No. 1 seed Illinois Central and fourth-seed Johnson County will meet in the other semifinal, with the winners advancing to Thursday's championship match. 

Iowa Central (21-3 overall) swept both Carl Sandburg and Catawba Valley in the opening rounds, earning just the second first round victory for the program at nationals. 

Kealey Anderson had 27 kills on the day, with Angel Baylark recording 21 and Katilyn Steffes 17. Alesha Johnson dished out 32 assists in both matches. 

"Everybody contributes in their own way," Anderson said. "Our bench is our fire, our offense is our power and our defense is our backbone. 

"As a team, we're leaning on each one of them now more than ever."

After playing in front of limited family and friends during the season, the Tritons are also taking advantage of a pro-Iowa Central crowd with the event held just a few hours from campus.

"We are very fortunate to have this championship in Cedar Rapids," Johnson said. "To have our family and fans make the trip, I am looking forward to our next games."

-By Dana Becker