A strong start continues on for first year Waukee head volleyball coach Danielle Lynch and the Warriors after going 2-1 in the Ames tournament on Tuesday, August 28.
The 11th ranked Warriors are now 5-3 on the 2018 season after going 2-1 against a tournament crowd including Abraham Lincoln, host Ames, and Class 5A’s 14th ranked Dowling Catholic. Waukee took care of their first two match ups, winning in two sets against both Des Moines Abraham Lincoln and Ames by 2-0 finals. The lone loss for the tournament came against Dowling Catholic, a team Waukee defeated not three days earlier.
The Abraham Lincoln match up was competitive but never really seemed out of hand for the Warriors as they won 25-17 in set one followed by a 25-15 score in set two. The match was highlighted by a 21 assist game from Kaitlyn Severson. The contest against Ames had a more competitive feel and it started from the word go with Waukee barely coming out of set one with the win 25-20. Set two was nearly identical and another back and forth match up went on but in the end, the Warriors took the set and the match 25-19. Haley Bush totaled 11 kills in the contest to go along with nine digs and three aces in the outing. The lone loss for the tournament came in a top 15 match up against Dowling Catholic. Despite coming just three digs short of their season high, the Warriors dropped the match 2-1 after falling in set one 26-24, stealing set two 25-23, only to narrowly miss out on the win by falling in set three 19-17. Ten players recorded at least one dig in the contest while senior Haley Bush recorded yet another match with 11 kills.
In total it was Haley Bush to lead Waukee in the kills department notching 29 total through three matches. Fellow senior Avery Showalter performed double duty leading the team in digs with 29 while also pacing the way in aces with six. The assist machine for the tournament was senior Kaitlyn Severson who tallied 44 assists in just two games worth of action while Kelsey Plumb also tacked on 21 assists to bring her team lead in assists up to 115 so far on the season.
Through eight games the Warriors are right in the mix of yet another competitive CIML-Central Conference race early. Waukee sits second in the conferences with an average of 2.57 aces per set and 54 aces total. The Warriors ended last season second in the conference in assists, and now they’ve continued from where they left off, currently second in the conference in assists with 197. Waukee sits second in digs (247), and third in blocks (47) within the conference.
It’s certainly been a wild ride so far for the Warriors but it’s been a successful one so far for coach Lynch which all started with a thrilling season opener where Waukee had to storm back after down 0-2 to take three straight sets and earn a 3-2 win over sixth ranked Ankeny. It was quite the interesting opener for coach Lynch who talked about that season opener.
“It was a mixed bag of emotions in that first match,” began Lynch. “On one hand it was exciting to see the girls battle back like they did, but on the other hand we didn’t start out the way we know we could. Looking at that first set, that was not the team we’d been practicing with and I think overall it was a game where our girls got the nerves out. Overall though it was a good game, and it was encouraging to see us get our first win against a high caliber team in Ankeny.”
Coach Lynch and the Warriors sure did hit the ground running and through various ups and downs through the first eight games, one there has been on major constant that Waukee has displayed by the upperclassmen group.
“We have ten ten seniors on our roster and all ten of them have been very beneficial to this team,” began Lynch. “They’re a never give up, never die group and it’s been their constant energy that has been a big spark for us.”
Now, as the Warriors prepare for more tournament action, coach Lynch notes another strength for her 2018 squad.
“Our schedule is a long and grueling schedule but in the end, it can be one of our strengths,” started Lynch. “To start the season, we’ll have played Dowling Catholic three times within seven games and we need to play teams like those. In order to be the best you have to beat the best and if we can play teams like Dowling now, it will better prepare us for when the postseason comes.”
The next slate of matches for the Warriors will come with the West Des Moines Valley tournament on Saturday, September 1. There coach Lynch and the Warriors will match up with Iowa City West, and with Dowling Catholic for the third time. The invitational tournament will begin at 8:30 a.m.