Michelle Bradley tried just about everything.
She shifted sophomore leaper Belle Tyynismaa up to the front row, trying to counter the Cubs' length. She started Sam Holtz on serve, hoping to find a favorable matchup later at the net. She gave a red-hot Emily Martin some extra rotations, reacting to some strong defensive play from the senior.
Each made a difference but none were enough to counter Nevada's speed, height and precision.
South Tama County sophomore Belle Tyynismaa (18) hits the ball over Nevada’s Michaela Matuska during the Cubs’ 3-0 sweep of the Trojans in a Class 3A Region 5 semifinal at Nevada Thursday. The Trojans finished the season 18-13.
The fifth-ranked Cubs used mid-game surges in the first two sets before a dominant third to sweep South Tama County 25-17, 25-16, 25-12 in a Class 3A Region 5 semifinal Thursday.
Winning 25 of its last 26 games, Nevada (31-11) claimed its 10th straight victory to earn a rematch with No. 13 Bondurant-Farrar in the regional final Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Huxley.
"When you get in a situation like this, you've got to try something," said Bradley of pulling out all the stops against the Cubs.
"We tried some new stuff, we tried to hit to our hot players. We just couldn't get our pass. We had our setter running all over the place and when you're on the (defensive) all the time, it's hard to score points."
Kati Cassabaum tallied 11 kills and three blocks, while Megan Pringnitz added 10 kills to highlight Nevada's relentless attack up front.
South Tama started strong in the opening set and forced a Nevada timeout after an error and a carry gave the Trojans a 9-6 edge. The home team later knotted the score at 12 on a Pringnitz kill as Nevada won nine of the next 12 points to seize a 21-15 advantage.
STC (18-13) took a timeout of its own to halt the flurry but never drew closer than seven the rest of the game as Nevada won the opener on a net touch.
"They didn't hit hard at us, they just rolled to our openings," said Bradley. "They found our holes and unfortunately we were getting to the hole, but we just weren't getting the ball up once we got there. ... We were getting touches on it, we just weren't able to bring it back to the middle of the court like we like to."
Trisha Walz sparked another quick start with a spike to open the second set as STC won three of the first four points. Knotted up at 4, Jessica Helton served up a pair of aces during a six-point streak for the Cubs as they later took an 11-5 lead. A couple hitting errors capped four unanswered points for the Trojans, who pulled back within two. Smashes from Paige Van Dyk and Walz kept the deficit at a pair with the latter leveling the score at 15-13, before Nevada took over.
Abby Stephenson followed a kill with a block as Nevada stretched the margin to 22-14. STC pulled back within six before the Cubs claimed the last three points capped by a Pringnitz winner.
"They were just hitting it over our blocks and hitting the spots we weren't at," said Van Dyk. "It was a good game on their part."
Nevada continued that method in the third set and kept South Tama at arm's length throughout, stretching a 7-2 lead into an 18-7 cushion. The Trojans took one final timeout and Van Dyk followed with a kill, though the deficit never dipped below double digits as a net violation sealed the match.
Walz paced STC with five kills, while Holtz and Van Dyk added four each. Madison Baack tallied 14 assists and eight digs, while serving 4-for-4 with an ace. Martin delivered in an expanded role with seven digs and Catie Collins added five.
Tyynismaa finished 8-for-9 on serve with an ace and Holtz connected on all 11 of her attempts as STC finished 44-of-46 with two service winners. Holtz tacked on two solo blocks, while both she and Baack recorded a block assist. Walz and Tyynismaa each had four digs.
Michaela Matuska had 21 assists for the Cubs and Emma Lodenstein added four blocks, while Stephenson and Jessica Helton each had six digs.
"We knew that we needed to play fast and just try to get around their blockers," said Pringnitz. "We just played our game and played really fast."
Nevada earns a rematch with Bondurant-Farrar (26-13), which ended the Cubs' season in the regional final last fall. The Trojans send off seven seniors as their year comes to a close, though Bradley applauded her team's final effort.
"They have nothing to hang their heads about at all," said Bradley. "They played this team very tough. ... The score doesn't show the heart and fight that my girls have."