Chickasaws take third in loaded home tournament
Scan the resumes of several of the teams in attendance at the New Hampton Invite on Saturday and it was easy to discern that there were some quality volleyball squads gunning for the championship title on the Chickasaws’ home floor.
Only one would pull through and snare the coveted crown, and although that team wasn't the Chickasaws, they did end the day on a high note by beating perennial power Tripoli in the third-place match.
While the Chickasaws under head coach Jess Geerts wasn’t that squad, it’s safe to say that there’s no shame in a third-place finish for a New Hampton team that is looking to climb back to an elite level this fall.
Finding the right lineup and creating magic on the hardwood is what volleyball is all about when one wants to join the ranks of championship caliber squads and compete for a big trophy.
New Hampton is looking to get back down to Cedar Rapids and the state field after playing in its one and only state tournament in 2018. NH also played in three consecutive regional finals during a stretch of winning volleyball that could once again be well within reach if the Chickasaws find the right mix of talent and mesh together in 2021.
“Chemistry is huge. We just really need to work on our chemistry and wanting to be at that level that we were two years ago,” said Geerts. “We could easily be there. There’s no doubt in my mind that we could be.”
That level of success that NH is aiming for has been mastered by the Cyclones of Denver in the past year. Denver finished runner-up to Dike-New Hartford at last year’s state tournament.
The Cyclones — which played in their first ever state tourney in Cedar Rapids in 2020 — are back and as strong as ever. Ranked second in Class 2A, Denver whipped through pool play en route to earning the No. 1 spot in the championship bracket after sweeping New Hampton and besting seventh-ranked Sumner-Fredericksburg in the finals.
Sumner-Fred, which topped New Hampton 21-16 and 21-19 in pool play, played in that same state tourney alongside Denver last year.
The team with the most notable success over the course of the last 20-odd years is Tripoli. The Panthers have claimed 11 state crowns in a relatively short of amount of time to accomplish such a feat.