After what seemed like a lengthy wait, the Iowa High School volleyball postseason is upon us. For the ADM Tigers, that means a trip to Harlan High School to begin their path to the coveted state tournament.
ADM, sitting 10-21 resides in the overall Region 2 along with 11-26 Harlan, 22-16 Norwalk, 17-11 Winterset, and 28-12 Glenwood, not to mention powerhouse and Class 4A’s sixth-ranked Lewis Central. Should the Tigers advance past the first round, they would then take the long drive to battle Lewis Central in round two.
As for ADM’s first-round match-up, they will battle the Lady Cyclones in Harlan on Wednesday, Oct. 23. ADM comes fresh off of a second-place Raccoon River Conference finish and will look to take that momentum into Harlan. The Tigers don’t have a whole lot of familiarity with their round one opponent. The last time the Lady Tigers and the Lady Cyclones battled in regular or postseason play occurred back on Sept. 5 of 2015. It will be just the second time in the past 15 seasons that these two teams will have battled in postseason play.
Despite the lack of competition time between the two teams, the match-up has the feeling of a long standing rivalry as noted by head coach Mary Beth Scott.
“Games against Harlan are always exciting and hard fought,” started Scott. “It has always been memorable to play Harlan and that’s regardless of any sport.”
It truly is a match-up that puts two evenly matched teams against each other. It’s a contest between two teams who can strike the ball exceptionally well and neck and neck in their numbers. Harlan has the slight advantage in kill efficiency at .101 against ADM’s .097. Both teams are fairly sound from the serving line as well with the slight edge this time going to ADM with 1,413 successful serves out of 1,572 attempts. With both teams similar in their striking ability, consistency within striking will be a key component in a win or a loss as noted by coach Scott.
“It will be extremely important to be consistent with our hitting,” began Scott. “If we are consistent we can get a good rhythm going and that can be extremely difficult to stop. On the other side we need to do what we can to throw Harlan off of their rhythm. The team who can do that the best will have a good chance of winning.”
Defense will definitely be something that will come into play against Harlan. Coach Scott and the Tigers have been working ever since day one on the defensive side of the ball, more specifically, seeing the blocks and reading the opposing offensive attacks. That has been a significant area of improvement for ADM as nearly half of their total blocks for the season have come within the last 14 games of the season. Spearheading the blocking efforts as noted by coach Scott will likely be freshman standout Dani Person who holds the Raccoon River Conference’s second highest blocks total this season.
“Dani has been so phenomenal this year for us,” began Scott. “She is very talented and sees the ball and sees the block very well, something you don’t see too often from a first year varsity player.”
Person has joined a very powerful senior group that includes kills leader Josi Lonneman (295), digs leader Abbie Hlas (324), assists leader Delaney Bertman (326), and Morgan Meyer who wields 261 assists on the season. It’s been nothing short of a collective effort this season against a grueling schedule that included over ten current and former ranked teams across the Class 3A, Class 4A, and Class 5A landscapes.
ADM will be searching for their first playoff win in over two years and it all starts Oct. 23 in Harlan, beginning at 7 p.m.