LUCKY NO. 13: Lynx one of two NCC teams in initial IGHSAU volleyball rankings

WEBSTER CITY – Expectations were already lofty for the Webster City volleyball team before the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released its first set of rankings on Monday.

And now those expectations are ramped up even more.

With a slew of returning starters off last season’s 21-13 squad, the Lynx splashed into the Class 4A poll at No. 13. They’re joined in the rankings by North Central Conference rival Algona, which is No. 9 in the 3A poll.

WCHS and Algona are widely considered two of the favorites to win the league championship this season.

The usual suspects from the Iowa Star Conference take up lofty perches in the 1A rankings. Defending state champion Tripoli is at No. 3, while Janesville is one spot ahead at No. 2.

Don Bosco, another member of the ISC, is at No. 15 in the small-school class.

Nevada is the only Heart of Iowa Conference program in the rankings; the Cubs sit at No. 6 in 3A.

The No. 1 ranked squads include Bettendorf (5A), Harlan (4A), MOC-Floyd Valley (3A), Dike-New Hartford (2A) and Holy Trinity Catholic (1A).

Bettendorf, MOC-Floyd Valley and Dike-New Hartford were all state champions a season ago, as was Charles City (4A), which begins the campaign ranked No. 5 in its class.

Tripoli has claimed five consecutive state titles and seven in the past nine years. Dike-New Hartford – blemish-free in 45 matches in 2012 – will be after its third straight championship this fall.