Redhawks shocked

No. 2 North Tama knocked off by AGWSR in state quarterfinal thriller

The North Tama volleyball team poses with its Class 1A state volleyball quarterfinalist trophy after Tuesday’s upset loss to AGWSR at Xtream Arena in Coralville. The Redhawks finished the season with a 39-5 record and a No. 2 ranking. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOAH ROHLFING

Jadyn Rausch hit the floor when the whistle blew and let the emotions of the moment overtake her.

The North Tama senior was far from the only Redhawks player to feel the pain and sorrow of a shocking upset Tuesday night in the quarterfinals round of Class 1A state volleyball, as the No. 2 seed in the state was bounced by No. 7 AGWSR in five sets, 25-21, 25-11, 27-25, 25-14, 15-13.

It was the first loss in exactly one month for North Tama, and one head coach Channing Halstead said was tough for the team to take.

“I knew it would be a tough matchup for us,” Halstead said. “We were really high and really low, and we haven’t done that much this season. We made good adjustments and we did good things, our passing got a little sketchy a couple times and that kind of made us not as confident as we would like to be.”

Right from the get-go, North Tama was playing slightly differently than its peak form throughout the season — the form that led the Redhawks to a 39-5 mark on the season. Taking more highs and more lows, the Redhawks were not at their best and allowed the Cougars to surge late and stole set one 25-21.


A dominant second set victory appeared to have settled things down, but in the third set a battling back-and-forth felt like a tipping point.

North Tama won set three 27-25, but afterwards failed to close out the match. AGWSR pounced on the Redhawks in the fourth set, leading 15-4 at one point on the way to a comfortable victory 25-14 and forcing a decisive fifth set. Rausch (eight kills and 41 assists) still struggled with more double push calls than she was used to, Halstead said.

In the fifth set, the Redhawks started like a house on fire — taking a 9-3 lead and forcing AWGSR to use both of its timeouts. Shae Ewoldt (team-high 18 kills) and Lainey Willenbring (11 kills) were leading the charge alongside middle hitter Breanna Sebetka (11 kills). Leading 13-6, North Tama was just two points from matching its 2021 state run to the semifinals.

Then, the Cougars scored three in a row. Three became five, five became seven and the match was tied at 13-13.

North Tama saw its dream season end too soon, with a senior class that brought the Redhawks back to state and to the heady heights of a No. 1 ranking departing.

Halstead said she made sure the girls knew how she felt in the locker room after the defeat.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t know what to say,” Halstead said. “The thing that I know I always remember is that I love them. That small school feel, you gotta love the kids. I made sure I told them that.”