For just the second time in 2019, the Van Meter volleyball team was in front of the hometown crowd in Van Meter for regular-season action.


They were taking on just their third conference contest of the 2019 campaign but still looking for their first West Central Activities Conference win. After three strong sets Tuesday night, they earned that first conference win in three sets over Earlham.


After several three to four-point runs, the Lady Bulldogs captured a 25-16 set one victory. They followed that up with a nearly identical performance in set two winning by a 25-15 final. Van Meter then solidified the overall match victory with a 25-12 set three win.


It was an overall sound performance by the Bulldogs who helped celebrate first-year head coach Sara Cook’s birthday with their fourth win of the season. Winning, in general, is big, winning against a conference foe is big, but defeating a conference foe on your birthday is an amazing feeling as coach Cook herself mentioned.


“It feels great to get the win against Earlham and for it to happen on my birthday is an added bonus,” said Cook. “It comes at a time where we’re starting to find our stride as a team and where we’re playing good volleyball.”


The win now gives the Bulldogs a three-game winning streak to continue off of. Van Meter has also been victorious in four out of the last five contests, something Bulldog senior Natalie Barth credits consistent play for.


“Consistency has been a big key for us playing so well as of late,” began Barth. “We keep going strong and finding the holes in our opponents’ defense. We’re breaking teams down while getting stronger ourselves and the more we can do that the better we’ll become going forward.”


While consistency is rightfully getting the credit for the success, perhaps one underlying reason for the consistency had to do with a change in offensive style. Recently, coach Cook took the Van Meter offense from a 5-1 setup to a 6-2 setup.


“It gives us a slightly better option offensively,” said Cook. “It gives us more of a right side option in each rotation which will ultimately give us a little more balance going forward.”


The win marks the seventh victory against Earlham since the 2015-16 season. The victory also marks the first home win of the season for the Bulldogs.


Their chance to add onto the overall win column will come Tuesday, Sep. 17 when they travel to Ogden to take on the conferences other Bulldog squad. Their next home game will come on Tuesday, Sep. 24 as they tangle with Madrid beginning at 5 p.m.