It was an appearance nine years in the making as the Dallas Center-Grimes volleyball team graced the state tournament stage for the first time since 2009.
After four straight seasons of coming one win short, the Fillies not only punched their long awaited state tournament ticket, but they cashed in that ticket with a three set sweep over Bondurant-Farrar in round one Tuesday night. DC-G's first state tournament win in quite some time came by besting the Lady Jays 25-20, 25-8, and 25-21. It was a win of montumentous proportions and the magnitude was not lost on the players themselves.
“We made history here today,” bellowed out junior Katelyn Knudsen. “It's one of the greatest feelings to bring this school back to state and now we intend on making more history.”
The match win started with a strong set one win which itself began with a DC-G lead that never wavered. The Fillies never faced a deficit in the opening set and aside from a 9-7 lead early in the set, never held a lead less than three points. In all 35 wins leading up to the state tournament, the Fillies had jumped out on front with a set one win, ending with the eventual match victory. That number rose to 36 Tuesday night, something that was very important in the eyes of the DC-G players and coaches.
“It was pretty important because they never stop giving up,” began senior Tiffany Denger. “They will come back whether it's 25-10 (or more).”
Set two would be an absolute showcase for the Fillies and it all began with a strong serving attack by junior Kamryn O'Brien. Under O'Brien's serving performance, the Fillies jumped out to a 5-0 early advantage. Denger wracked up four of her eight kills in set two which helped them spur on an 8-1 run early on in set two to jump out 13-2. That then turned into a 25-8 set two victory. The serve/receive component was the bread and butter for both the Fillies and the Lady Jays this season as the Fillies resided inside the top 20 in Class 4A in aces while Bondurant-Farrar ranked inside the top five in the class. Both teams used their serving capabilities to success throughout the regular season and Tuesday night, it was the Fillies to utilize it the best.
“It (serve/receive) was a big factor and (on defense) you've got to learn how to move to the ball quickly, adjust, and get the ball to your setter,” began Knudsen. “It all starts with that pass which was big for us tonight.”
In total, once all was said and done, the Fillies bested the Lady Jays with 12 aces compared to just three for Bondurant-Farrar. Out of the 12 total aces, it was senior Hannah Ashley to lead the way with six, her second time doing so in the past three matches.
The first true deficit the Fillies faced came midway through what would end up being the third and final set. DC-G volleyball watched a 10-8 set three lead vanish into a 10-12 disadvantage. The Fillies would take a timeout and come out of it stronger than ever, officially eliminating the deficit. It was positive momentum brought on by an always uplifting conversation with head coach Cheryl Voelker.
“Out of every time out the girls performed exactly the way we wanted them to,” Voelker. “I wanted to make sure they were playing confident and putting the ball down, not playing afraid. We started doing a lot of tips and tips are good.”
In the end, the Fillies totaled 35 kills led by Katelyn Knudsen's 12 while out of 32 total assists, Kamryn O'Brien paced the Fillies with 21 on the night.
Continuing her historical run, fellow senior Dakota Miles poured in 19 digs to lead the way, giving her 570 for the season so far.
The win gives the Fillies a 36-4 record and the right to move onto the semifinal round on Thursday, November 8 where they will take on Cedar Rapids Xavier.