It was the official start to the 2019-20 campaign for the ADM volleyball team Tuesday night as they took the short drive to Grimes to partake in the annual Fillie Invitational.
Eight teams were in attendance Tuesday night which included ranked foes Des Moines Roosevelt (11th in Class 5A), Gilbert (11th ranked in Class 4A), and host DC-G (fourth ranked in Class 4A). The other teams in the field included Algona, Southeast Polk, Des Moines Roosevelt and Fort Dodge. On the docket for the Tigers were battles with Algona, Urbandale, and Southeast Polk.
ADM ended up taking their first match-up against Algona but fell in their next two outings to outings to Southeast Polk and Urbandale. Although it wasn’t the exact outcome the Tigers would have liked, the tournament did still serve an important purpose as explained by head coach Mary Beth Scott.
“We feel it’s very important to kick off the season with an invitational like this,” began Scott. “First it allows you to mix things up and see what works in actual game play. This is the time where I like to see what placements, groups, and strategies work and which ones need work. It also gets the team in front of a variety of teams with different styles and approaches to the game. We see more in less time.”
Heading into the invitational itself, there was some worry as to whether or not senior star Josi Lonneman would play after spraining her ankle. After spraining her ankle Saturday coach Scott played it carefully with Lonneman and in the end all was cleared and she was back in the lineup, something that’s always a huge boost for the Tigers.
“Josi is such and energetic and excitable player,” began coach Scott. “Her energy is contagious but what I love about her the most is her ability to hold her teammates accountable while still having as much fun as possible. The younger girls can make a mistake and not have to worry about being ridiculed. They learn and move on.”
The first match-up out of the gate was against North Central Conference member Algona. A back-and-forth contest ended up on top for the Tigers in set one who came out with a late surge 21-13. They then followed that up with a 21-17 set two win, thus picking up their first win of the season. It also marked the third time in the past five seasons that ADM volleyball has opened up a season with a win. It marked a lot of good things for the Tigers and brought a lot of excitement to coach Scott.
“Looking at Algona in warm-ups they looked really good and they proved to be really tough to play against,” said coach Scott. “I think our girls did a great job of moving to the ball quickly and establishing our brand of volleyball early. It showed what we are capable of accomplishing throughout the season.”
Unfortunately for the Tigers, their celebration didn’t last long as they ended up falling in a three set battle with Urbandale in their next match-up. Set one was one to forget as the Tigers quickly saw a double-digit deficit continue to grow in set one. After an onslaught by Urbandale, the Tigers dropped the opening salvo 21-7. The Tigers battled and went toe-to-toe with their Class 5A counterparts and ended up with a set two win by a 21-17 final. Unfortunately, the Tigers watched a close contest slip away late in set three and ended up losing the match 15-12. The loss stung but overall provided a great learning moment for coach Scott and the Tigers.
“It showed us that we need to sure up our passing abilities,” started Scott. “We weren’t very sharp with our passing especially in set one and we as a team learned what happens when you’re not sharp with your passing.”
The Tigers then moved onto the third place match-up as they were slotted against Southeast Polk. Set one was an exciting set to watch with it’s back-and-forth atmosphere with multiple lead changes. Unfortunately the Tigers couldn’t pull it out late, thus earning a 22-20 set one loss. ADM would go on to have a less than stellar second set against the Lady Rams and fall 21-9, thus chalking the match up as a loss.
ADM will now look to expand upon their lone win of the season when take on their first home action of the season Tuesday, September 3. At approximately 7 p.m. ADM will welcome in Creston Community for a non-conference match-up.