Every year brings a new fall sports season and with it new challenges and new positives.

When the Van Meter volleyball team officially strikes the 2019-20 campaign on Thursday, August 22, they will be under the direction of new leadership. The individual steering the ship for the 2019 season and foreseeable future is none other than Sara Cook. Despite the title, Cook isn't that new to the Van Meter volleyball scene. Last season Cook was an assistant under now former four-year head coach Ed Brogean. Cook, a Des Moines area native, actually made her way initially to Van Meter for an educational position that was just too good to pass up.

“My husband and I love the Van Meter area and have heard such great things about the district for so long,” began Cook. “When I saw that the elementary school counselor position opened up I just knew I had to take it.”

Shortly after arrival to Van Meter schools, there was an assistant volleyball position that opened up, also something too good for Cook to pass up.

“Volleyball has been my main sport my whole life and when I saw that a volleyball position was available I knew there was no way I could so no to that,” stated Cook.

There's no doubt right from the get-go that Cook was going to be the right individual to lead the Bulldog volleyball team into the future. Nearly her entire life she's been involved with volleyball to some degree. After multiple state title runs in high school, Cook took to the collegiate ranks as a member of the Simpson College volleyball team. Then as they say, the rest is history which has led Cook to being the newest head coach of Van Meter volleyball.

While the title is new, the experience is not and having already been here a year has really opened things up for Cook and the experience with the girls as an assistant was extremely valuable. Maybe even more so than normal.

“I was lucky enough to get to know the girls ahead of time last year and it was especially nice to do it as an assistant coach,” began Cook. “That was actually quite a blessing because I got to know the girls as an assistant and see a different side of them as an assistant coach. The comfort level between myself and them is higher than what it would have been if I came straight in this year as the head coach.”

Cook and her energetic and playful personality really rubbed off on the players themselves who were extremely happy through the first days of practice. That personality has combined with a plethora of items to round out her coaching style. One of those items is taking from what former head coach Ed Brogean had instilled upon both the team and Cook herself. As more of a setting piece, coach Cook talked about how her mind was opened to the many other aspects of the game from the coaching perspective while under the tutelage of Brogean.

“It was eye opening for me because there was a lot of things about the game that I just wasn't fully aware of as a setter,” said Cook. “A lot about hitting and blocking and some of the extremes and how to employ certain things in effective ways.”

Coach Cook and the 2019-20 Bulldog volleyball team will kick off their competitive efforts on the road Tuesday, August 27. It is then they will kick off the season against conference foe Des Moines Christian followed by the 2019 home opener on Thursday, August 29 against another West Central Activities Conference foe in AC/GC.