When the 2018 high school volleyball season began, the Dallas Center-Grimes Fillies had one phrase echoed across the team, “we own it”. Monday night, in front of the hometown crowd, the Fillies brought things full circle and punched their ticket to the state tournament by besting Norwalk in the Class 4A region three title game.
From DC-G Meadows Gym, the Fillies earned their way to the promise land by sweeping the three set match 25-21, 25-11, and 25-14. The Fillies claimed their third state tournament berth since 2000 and after the winning match, head coach Cheryl Voelker had this to say about her team owning their season.
“These girls have owned it from the very beginning,” began Voelker. “They’ve owned their season from from the first match, to winning conference, and now to making state. “They’ve put in the hours and they took their season into their own hands, not letting others dictate where it goes. They are here because of their will and their dedication.”
It was a match where the Fillies faced just once deficit all night long and the lone deficit was a mere one set point. As has been the case all season long, senior Hannah Ashley posted another strong serving night which began strong. Ashley’s serving abilities helped the Fillies begin set one with a 4-0 start under her watch. Then the visiting Warriors made things competitive, answering nearly every Fillie point. After the Warriors brought the set one deficit to just one, 10-9, Dallas Center-Grimes out dueled Norwalk 15-12 to take an early lead.
Set two saw the first and only deficit of the match 0-1, but then the Fillies turned up the intensity and went on a 10-4 run before Norwalk took a time out. The Fillies put forth an all around set in the second stanza complete with 11 of the 23 total digs acquired by Dakota Miles, and seven out of the 10 kills recorded by junior Katelyn Knudsen. That helped the Fillies lay claim to set two easily 25-11.
Set three began with another point spree at the hands of Ashley who helped Dallas Center-Grimes earn a 7-0 set three advantage. The Fillies never led by any less than three points throughout the rest of the set as they took the match with a 25-14 set three victory.
It was a great win that gave the Fillies a trip to state, but defeating a conference foe in Norwalk seemed to make things just a bit sweeter.
“It really showed a lot about what this team is able to do,” began junior Katelyn Knudsen. “Just as much as we know them, they know us and what our strengths are. They really went after our weaknesses but we did a great job adapting and changing our attack while being effective.”
From diving all over the court to strong serves, the Fillies showcased a great team performance, but in facing a very familiar opponent, preparation work seemed to be just as important.
“Norwalk is a very strong serving team and that was a big focus of ours throughout the week of practice,” began coach Voelker. “They’ve served a lot of aces all year long and we knew we needed to work on giving the girls difficult serves in difficult situations. All of that work paid off and was a huge part of the win tonight.”
As a result of their efforts, the Fillies are gracing the state tournament stage for the first time since 2009 and will enter as the third seed. Their first round state tournament action will take place on Tuesday, November 6 against the sixth seeded Bondurant-Farrar Jayettes. The match will take place on court two beginning at 6 p.m.