The Van Meter Bulldogs had their last regular season game on Thursday, Oct. 12 against the West Central Valley Wildcats. The Bulldogs won the match three sets and are now on a 12-match win streak.
“This year has been a very remarkable year for us so far,” said coach Ed Brogean. “We struggled a little bit in the beginning, we made some adjustments, put girls in different positions and we’ve just been accelerating ever since. I mean, we beat DMC in their tournament to go 4-0, we beat number nine Montezuma on Saturday at Martensdale, we’ve beaten Woodward in four - I honestly don’t know the last time this volleyball program has beaten Woodward, they’re a solid program, they’re well coached - so there’s a lot of excitement.”
The Wildcats started the first set out with two points before the Bulldogs could get one on the board. The Wildcats held the early lead, but soon, after an ace serve from Sophie Volk, the score was tied 6-6.
After the tie, it was the Bulldogs turn to lead and soon enough, they were up 13-8. With a few more kills and missed hits by the Wildcats, it didn’t take long for the score to reach 16-8.
“We have been working on trying to be more aggressive even in tough situations,” Brogean said, “and working on different options and shots and the things the girls can do to better the ball and put us in position to get a kill and get the other team out of the system and that’s been working for us the second half of the season.”
A couple more plays and Aubrey Artzer had a kill, to put the Bulldogs up ten points. A little bit later, and both the teams had added one point to their score (19-9). With a block built by Artzer and Abby Archer, the Bulldogs regained the ball for another point.
Although the block put another point on the scoreboard for the Bulldogs, the next serve added a point to the Wildcats’ score (20-10).
Before the first set could end, the Bulldogs allowed the Wildcats three more points. The first set ended 25-13 after a Wildcat pass went out-of-bounds.
Again, the second set started with the Wildcats getting the first point after a Bulldog kill went out. Luckily, the Bulldogs came back and soon enough, after two aces by Maggi Braun, the Bulldogs led 6-1.
The Bulldogs were able to score two more points before a kill was stopped by a Wildcat block giving them their second point of the set (8-2).
This didn’t stop the Bulldogs from keeping their strong lead, and although Volk’s serve went out, the score was still 14-7. Volk came back on the next play with a kill to get the Bulldogs the point and allow them to regain the ball.
The gap in the score kept getting wider and with two aces by Artzer, the Bulldogs led by 11 points (21-10).
The Wildcats had the point on the next play, but with a kill followed by an ace from Lindsey Golwitzer the Bulldogs were able to widen the gap to 12 points (23-11).
The Bulldogs allowed the Wildcats two more points from a long serve and a missed kill before the end of the set. The set finally ended when Volk had a kill that the Wildcats couldn’t return; the score was 25-13.
Unlike the first two sets, the Bulldogs scored the first two points of the third set. The Bulldogs did allow the Wildcats their first point when a kill by Artzer went out-of-bounds (2-1).
The Bulldogs led had the ball back on the following serve with another kill, and held the ball until the score was 9-1.
The Wildcats didn’t score their second point until a serve fell short, but again, the Bulldogs were able to return the ball for a point on the Wildcats’ serve.
The Bulldogs didn’t let up and soon the score was 16-6. The Wildcats were able to get the ball, though, and close the gap to just seven points (16-9).
The Bulldogs quickly got the ball back and with a tip by Artzer, an ace serve by Braun and a kill from Archer the Bulldogs were leading 22-9.
The Wildcats ended the set by having three unsuccessful plays. The Bulldogs won the third set 25-9 and the match 3-0.
The Bulldogs are going into Regionals on a 12-match winning streak and a 24-4 season record. They will start Regionals at home on Monday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. against the winner of Pella Christian versus Colfax-Mingo.