There was little stopping Waukee volleyball in its 3-0 win over Des Moines Lincoln in the regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 29. Skating to such a dominant win to more than repeat their success against Lincoln earlier in the season, it might come as a surprise the Warriors have room to move up. The standard keeps being raised by head coach Danielle Lynch.
“To be honest with you, we needed to get that game under our belt,” Lynch said. “There were kind of nerves in there, you know, a playoff game, and all that kind of stuff. There’s pressure on the line and we want to make it to state.”
Those nerves appeared to be on display as Lincoln took a 5-2 lead right our of the gate. Once senior Meaghan Smith stepped to the service line for the Warriors, there was no looking back after knotting the evening at 5-5. After a combination of three consecutive aces from Ella Pedersen and kills from Layanna Greene and Kate Nelson, the rest of the game was light work in a 25-11 decision.
That momentum was carried well into the second set with a 6-0 lead that soon entered double digit territory on the back of a continued premiere showing at the net. The closing set was no different as Waukee skated to a 25-5 win, the team’s largest margin of the season.
Waukee’s dominant game was in large part thanks to the towering presence at the net with 37 total kills spread among six players led by Nelson with 12 and Green’s 10 as the team continued to attack Lincoln’s weak lanes.
“Once we started to figure that out a little bit and then get our serve-receives so we can be in system,” Lynch said. “Then things that started to move around a little bit more.”
She added that all week the team had been practicing its shots to the edge of the court to keep Lincoln on its toes. It worked with varying success as a number of attack attempts landed out of bounds and 12 kill errors were recorded. Nelson and Greene’s work in that area was enough to counter those negative effects as Lincoln couldn’t find an answer to Waukee’s set ups led by Lily Becker’s 27 assists.
While those numbers, along with 14 aces, leapt off the page and drove the night’s success, Lynch said she hopes to see the team continue to finesse its work up front to prevent potential comebacks.
“We started off with some nerves because we know from playing them in the past that they have that fire and can come back to get us,” Nelson added in agreement with her coach. “So we really had to focus on what we were doing on our side and make sure we were doing our jobs.”
Lynch said in particular, she wants the team to trim its serving errors. The Warriors had 10 errors to their 14 aces. Their error target is to be closer to half of their total aces.
Though the Warriors had three double-digit wins Tuesday and made big runs on offense, she noted how their guests found windows to make small runs of their own like that in the front end of the night. In the end, the small bursts where Lincoln was well-repped, it wasn’t nearly enough to touch the No. 6 Class 5A team in the state.
“I think we just need to work on being more creative and really being the more intelligent team and finding where their weakness are and try to focus doing the best job to find them,” Nelson added in agreement.
Waukee takes on Southeast Polk Monday, Nov. 4 at Waukee High School in the regional final.