The beat goes on for the Ankeny volleyball team.
Another injury struck the seventh-ranked Hawkettes, and the players responded with a shrug of their shoulders.
With starting middle hitter Ava Wille out of the lineup due to a knee injury, Ankeny rolled to a 25-18, 25-11, 25-9 victory over visiting Urbandale in a Class 5A regional semifinal on Thursday.
“The changes have become a normal thing at this point, but our team has learned to deal with the adversity so well that it doesn’t really faze us as much as it used to,” said Ankeny junior Reagan Hanfelt.
The Hawkettes (23-14) defeated Urbandale (10-22) for the second time this season. They also swept the J-Hawks on Oct. 5.
Ankeny coach Liz Baethke coached at Urbandale for 23 years before leaving over the summer to take over the Hawkettes’ program.
“It was a good win, and we’re locked in on Iowa City Liberty now,” Baethke said of her team’s next opponent.
Ankeny overcame a slow start in Thursday’s match. Urbandale jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening set before the Hawkettes rallied.
Baethke praised the play of senior Ady Brecht, who helped fill the void created by Wille’s absence.
“Ady stepped up like she’s been playing middle all season long,” Baethke said. “I was pleased with our energy, and we continue to become stronger playing for each other.”
Kamryn Scheib had 12 kills and eight digs to lead Ankeny. Olivia Eike, who was out of action last week due to medical reasons, returned to the lineup and contributed eight kills while hitting .615 on the night.
Brecht finished with six kills and four blocks. Marlee Ellison also had six kills while hitting .667, and Hanfelt added four kills.
Lauren Dockendorff dished out 17 assists in the win. Cloey Wiederin had 13 assists, three aces and was 12-of-12 serving.
Baileigh Carlsen chipped in eight digs. Ilana Coleman added six.
The Hawkettes will host No. 14 Iowa City Liberty (19-21) in the regional final on Tuesday. The defending state champion Lightning overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat Ottumwa in five sets on Thursday.
This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams. Ankeny won the first two meetings at the Valley and Iowa City West tournaments last month before falling to Liberty in three sets at the Waverly-Shell Rock Invitational on Sept. 30.
“We have played them before, and they are a very good team,” Hanfelt said. “But I think the key to beating them is for us to play together, be aggressive, and have fun because we always play the best when we are having fun and it shows.”