Victory was in the air Tuesday night as the Dallas Center-Grimes volleyball team captured four straight victories.
The Fillies wrapped up the preseason by being labeled the fourth ranked team across the Class 4A landscape and followed that up by initiating the regular season with a Fillie Invitational crown. It marked the second straight season that the Fillie volleyball squad took their home invitational title, an exciting feeling as senior star Katelyn Knudsen mentioned.
“It’s really exciting because it gives us a good outtake of what our whole season can be like,” began Knudsen. “It’s good to go into the season with momentum and winning this tournament has sure done that.”
Despite losing out on five key contributors from last year, the Fillies picked up right where they left off from last year, losing just one out of the nine total sets played Tuesday. Last year the Fillies breezed through the four invite games and this year they did the same with 2-0 victories over Fort Dodge, Gilbert, and Urbandale. The only team to capture a set win over the Fillies was Des Moines Roosevelt yet they too surcame to defeat in the end. The Fillies played just as lights out as last year but when you take a look at the makeup, it’s the same effect but a different look.
“This team is quite different from last years’ team,” said Knudsen. “Last years’ team had a lot of height and overall talent while this year we have more speed and a little more intensity. Practices are a little more intense than last year and everyone is stepping up big time because everyone wants varsity playing time.”
The Fillies once again sported a 6-2 offensive set-up that was run near perfectly by the Fillies and sported what could be a very well run machine for DC-G as noted by head coach Cheryl Voelker.
“We’re running another 6-2 offense this year and interestingly enough, this group may be able to run that offense better than last year,” said Voelker.”
The first match of the night for the Fillies came against Fort Dodge. The Fillies suffered just three deficits across set one with their largest hole being a two point deficit. Following an 8-6 lead by the Lady Dodgers, DC-G pulled ahead to lead 13-11. From there, the Fillies outscored the Dodgers 8-1 to claim set one 21-12. Set two never saw the Fillies face a deficit, which they ran with for the 21-8 set two win and the overall match victory. The Fillies quickly gathered and kept leads in each of their two sets with Gilbert winning 21-11 and 21-14 before taking on Des Moines Roosevelt. The Rough Riders stunned the Fillies out of the game with a 21-15 set one win but then the host team came on to out last Roosevelt in set two 22-20 before securing the 16-6 set three win for the overall match victory.
That set up the invitational title game between the Fillies and the Urbandale J-Hawks. In both sets the Fillies faced small deficits right out of the gate including a 3-2 deficit in set one which they quickly turned into a 9-6 lead. From there DC-G went on a 6-5 run to go up 15-11. They then followed that up by outscoring Urbandale 6-5 once more to secure the set one victory 21-16. Set two saw an inauspicious 5-2 deficit for the Fillies to begin play. The Fillies not only came back to tie things up at 5-5, but they went on a 9-4 run to go up 14-9. That then turned into a 21-17 victory, thus clinching a second straight Fillie Invite crown.
While the mindset coming into the invite was that of victory, there were still questions lying around as to how the Fillies would fill some of the big shoes left by Abby Greiman, Hannah Ashley, Madeline Duey, Tiffany Denger, and especially Dakota Miles. Stepping up in Dakota’s place this season has been Ashley Ferguson entering her senior campaign. Ferguson started out the season on an impressive note and an overall performance which really pleased coach Cheryl Voelker.
“Ashley has done a great job and played very well tonight,” began Voelker. “She can read the court just as good as Dakota did and she’s an excellent communicator which was a big part of that position from Dakota last year. I think that as the season goes on, you’ll start to see her get more into a groove and you’ll start to see some real good tempo passes and good digs out of her.”
The Fillies are well on their way to repeating last years’ season and the continuation of that will continue this weekend as the fourth ranked Fillies travel Grinnell for another tournament where they will take on Grinnell and Carlisle.