They say that the sum is only as good as its parts. In that case the sum of the Van Meter volleyball team is made up of some fantastic parts.
Bulldog volleyball has been a very sound machine over recent weeks and has resulted in a nine-game winning streak dating back to the middle of September. Overall, Van Meter has produced wins in 14 out of the the last 16 matches and have stretched their record to 15-6.
There certainly has been a lot that has gone into the winning machine known as Van Meter volleyball. From senior leaders like Natalie Barth, a new coach with great knowledge and a new age flare, or even a West Central Activities Conference leading 901 digs, there’s plenty of skillful parts that make up Bulldog volleyball. That also includes a recently discovered sister pair that has opposing coaches baffled and opposing players frustrated.
Enter Abby and Norah Matt, a sister pair that is rivaled by few if any and stands to reason as critical components in the success of Van Meter volleyball in 2019. This freshman, junior sibling duo has been outstanding for Van Meter and was an instant hit with first year head coach Sara Cook.
“Norah and Abby are some of the most humble yet exciting volleyball players you’ll ever see,” began Cook. “They are very athletic and are fantastic students of the game. They absorb information and retain it very well which comes in handy quite often throughout the course of a full season.”
Every year coaches strategics’s about ways to limit opposing teams top players and while the Matt sisters have been two of many to look out for in the Bulldog lineup, they’ve proven nearly impossible to stop. In fact, the Matt sisters usually do the stopping, halting momentum carrying offensive attacks by opponents. A hallmark of the Matt sisters through 55 sets and 21 matches has been their ability to take an opposing offense and flip it upside down. Of the conference leading 901 digs set forth by the Bulldogs as a whole, Norah and Abby Matt have accounted for a combined 50 percent of the digs production. Freshman Abby Matt has accounted for over 157 digs while junior Norah has become the first conference player to eclipse the 300 digs mark this season. They’re production is matched only by their drive and passion which has constantly come down to one simple aspect…family ties.
“Everyone on this team are like sisters to us but I think that because we are actual sisters and we’ve grown up with each other, we are able to push each other farther,” began Norah. “We know more than anyone what are strengths and weaknesses are and how to bring out those strengths while limiting the weaknesses.”
Abby, one of a handful of freshmen to overshoot 150 digs on the season, added in the competitive factor that goes a long way towards the unmatched drive from the pair.
“With being sisters we naturally are competitive with each other,” started Abby Matt. “I feel that has really helped push us farther because we want to beat someone who knows and knows how to beat us. It’s also been nice to go home at talk about it with Norah and push each other beyond just the high school.”
Now where some sibling rivalries have come by misguided means and have hampered teams, the competitive spirit between the two sisters has actually strengthened the Bulldogs and it all comes down to finding the balance as noted by coach Cook.
“At first both Norah and Abby were trying to find that competitive and successful rhythm between each other and it wasn’t clicking early,” said Cook. “Then they started to get more acclimated to varsity play and the drive they have and the competitiveness between each other has only benefited this team. They’ve successfully found that balance and it’s been so fun to watch.”
Over the past weekend alone, the competitive spirit between the two sisters resulted in a digs battle for the ages. Through five matches held at Madrid High School alone, the Matt duo produced 124 digs. The Matt duo has also been very impactful in other facets of the game including a combined 42kills, 69 aces, and of course 455 combined digs. All of that has come on the heels of the the first year of varsity action for both Norah and Abby. As crazy as it seems, this is the first full year of varsity action for either sister and it’s proven to be one of the most memorable for both.
“It’s challenging but ultimately it’s very fun to play at the varsity level,” began Norah. “The upperclassmen are amazing and are great friends. They’ve been really helpful for us in improving and just having fun with it all.”
Now the entire Iowa High School volleyball world has been put on notice and that notice is to watch out for the prolific Van Meter duo of Norah and Abby Matt.