At long last the volleyball season begins once more and it does so for a plethora of teams including the ADM Tigers.
ADM volleyball looks to continue their proud winning tradition that has witnessed ten winning seasons over the past 11 years. The Tigers come off a solid 23-12 campaign last season and topped the Raccoon River Conference with a nearly unblemished conference mark of 6-1.
The Tigers will look to recreate what they did last season and it all starts tomorrow evening in the annual Filly Invitational in Grimes. ADM will be part of a eight team field including host and preseason sixth ranked DC-G, Algona, Des Moines Roosevelt, Gilbert, Southeast Polk, and Class 5A’s 13th ranked Urbandale. Last year the Tigers split the four match invite with wins over Nodaway Valley and Southest Polk while falling to Des Moines Roosevelt and host Dallas Center-Grimes.
While the Tigers themselves have been riding pretty high the last few seasons, this year may present some unique challenges that haven’t faced ADM volleyball in a few years. The Tigers lost six talented stars from last years team including the likes of kills leader Sami Schepers (353), aces leader Amy Gottschalk (54), and digs leader Jordan Hook (399). The loss of such skill has definitely been felt so far and it’s one of the biggest challenges that faces head coach Mary Beth Scott and her 2018 squad.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge to fill those big shoes left from last year,” began Scott. “It’s not just the skills and physical contributions that you loose but it’s the experience and leadership that you loose as well. Knowing where to go in certain situations, being able to properly anticipate the other team’s moves.”
The one thing about ADM volleyball is that there are always talented and smart youth ready at the wings to get their chance to shine. While the Tigers may have just two seniors on their 2018-19 roster, there are a lot of talented individuals who have stepped up in the past. ADM returns hard hitting Abbie Hlas who totaled a team second best mark of 33 aces last season. Senior Jordyn Crow totaled 54 total blocks and 25 solo blocks for the Tigers last season while Delaney Bertman made a name for herself last year with 555 total assists on the year.
With the different twist that the roster breaks down to, coach Scott talked about a slightly different change to the offensive picture this season.
“With who we have this season we’re going to change our offensive set up to a 6-2 offense this season,” said Scott. “We really wanted Delaney Bertman to hit in the front row and have Morgan Meyer in the back row. We also want to utilize as much power from Abbie Hlas back there as we can.”
While the upperclassmen for ADM are a must for success, coach Scott also talked about the youth as being a crucial factor for a ninth consecutive winning season.
“We’re going to be a younger team this year and we’re going to rely on our underclassmen more now than perhaps we’ve had to in past seasons,” started Scott. “I’m very confident about our younger girls and what they can accomplish. With our summer work and summer camps, these younger girls have shown me just how dedicated they are and how much they’ve improved in their technique from one year to the next. I’m confident that we’ll be able to be a deep team this year.”
ADM will get their first crack at competition with the invite tomorrow, beginning the invitational against Urbandale on the East Court beginning at 5:30 p.m. followed by a match up against Southeast Polk at 6:30 p.m. on the West Court. Pending the outcome, the Tigers will end their invitational run at 7:30 p.m.