Volleyball team captures runner up at State

By Claire Rolinger

The women’s volleyball team’s goal from day one was to make it to the 5A state championships in November, and they definitely didn’t fall short.

The women started off the postseason by beating Fort Dodge and Sioux City East at home to qualify for the state tournament.

state6In their first round at State, they played 12th-ranked West Des Moines Dowling, who they had seen twice before. Later in the semis, they played fifth-ranked Ankeny, and then in the finals they played second-ranked Ankeny Centennial, who were the two time defending state champions. The Tigers swept every opponent by scores of 3-0 until they lost the championship 0-3 to Centennial on the Nov. 11.state4

It was a rough loss for the girls, but the team still managed to find positivity in the experience.

Coach Matt Johnson said he was very proud of his girls and all that they accomplished.

“Making it to the state tournament is an awesome accomplishment and something we want every Tiger volleyball team to experience. To play in the neat venue in front of family and friends makes for some pretty great memories for our girls,” he said.

And playing at the Cell was definitely quite the adventure. Senior Taylor Sernett described her emotions when walking into Cell Arena for the first time.

“It’s crazy. Especially the first few days when there are two courts going. It’s just so loud, and you can hear the crowd yelling, but at the same time you’re focused on the game, and you kind of just zone everything out too. It’s crazy.”The girls wouldn’t have wanted to experience it with anyone but each other.

state1“We have a lot of fun. When you’re together every day for as long as we’ve been together, you just get really close to one another,” senior Elizabeth Relph said. “I’ve made a lot of friends through

volleyball. Obviously, I’m not the best girl out there, but it doesn’t really matter to the other girls on the team because we’re all friends. It’s not really a matter of how good the athlete is. It’s a matter of how good the person is.”
Junior Taylor Lynch described her take on the tournament. “Unfortunately it didn’t end like we wanted it to, but I’m still really proud. We played better than we did last year, and that’s something that we can keep improving upon too.”

Sernett agreed. “I mean obviously I wish that we would have played that day like we had been playing. That was kind of disappointing, but at the same time, the fact that we made it that far is really incredible.”

While it can be said that a state championship would have been amazing, the girls realized that the experience in itself was worth so much more than a title.

And ultimately, with six out of six starters returning next fall, the team has high hopes of pulling of a state championship next year anyway.

“We’re just going to keep on growing and getting better,” Lynch said with a smile. “We’re going to come back next year and we’re going to finish what we started.”

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