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DCG volleyball battles with three-set sweep over Bondurant-Farrar in postseason opener

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News

Finding ways to win has basically been the motto for Dallas Center-Grimes volleyball in 2020. They've won from blowouts to two-point nail-biting victories and more. 

On Thursday, Oct. 22 in Grimes, the Mustangs tapped into that experience to capture the postseason victory over Bondurant-Farrar in three sets. In the 11th all-time meeting since 2009, the Mustangs swept the visiting Lady Jays 28-26, 25-21 and 25-21.

In a match void of any boring moments, fans from both teams were treated to quite the initial set that took extra points to decide a victor. It was just the second time all season that DCG had to go above 25 points in a set one win. The set began with a slight 5-3 deficit but thanks to a 3-1 run, it evened out at 6-6. From there, DCG never looked back,  even when the set went back and forth point after point for five straight points. With set one tied at 26-26, two strong serves put the lengthy set one in favor of DCG 28-26.  

"We knew in the huddle that we had to just come out and be assertive, swing hard, and just be ready to get a kill and the game-winning point," said senior Lexi Protzman.

The rollercoaster of the match continued in the near opposite direction for the Mustangs.  The Mustangs were down 6-1 to begin the second set but kept on chipping away at Bondurant-Farrar's lead 6-2, 10-8 and 15-13. Finally, thanks to three unanswered points, DCG ended up equalizing the set at 18-18. From there DCG outscored Bondurant-Farrar 7-3 for a commanding two-set advantage.

"I felt like I just coached five sets. It was the hardest three-set win I've ever coached," said DCG head coach Cheryl Voelker. "The touches, the out of system, and the hustle from our girls was outstanding. They always try to make the ball better and adapt to find a way to win. I told them they will score but we just have to score more and two to three points every time we have the ball and they did that."

DCG's Isabelle Wood dives for the ball on Thursday, Oct. 22 in postseason round two against Bondurant-Farrar.

DCG seemed to be on the offensive for most of the game despite what Bondurant-Farrar brought to the table. DCG captured 21 kills for the night, led by senior Grace Mikota with seven kills on the night to give her 264 on the season. Another big piece to the winning puzzle came on the defensive side of things where DCG posted 46 digs. 

"Defense at the net helped out a lot but our defense and passers in the back row also helped out a lot and we wouldn't have had the same success without their play," said Voelker. 

 An early 11-6 lead in set three which was sustained throughout most of the set, helped as the Lady Jays went on a 5-0 run late. DCG ended up holding off the offensive attack of Bondurant-Farrar and punched their ticket to the regional championship game for the third straight year in a row. 

Kenna Jackson serves the ball during the postseason battle with Bondurant-Farrar on Thursday, Oct. 22 in Grimes.

Another positive that helped the Mustangs was the return of junior Kenna Jackson. After appearing in just 10 matches this season, Jackson returned to the competitive court on Thursday.  

"She's such as smart player, it's good to have her back on the court," began Voelker. "She wasn't quiet on the bench by any means, she was still communicating but it was just good to get her back on the court and she did a great job serving." 

Jackson was part of an overall sound serving night by the Mustangs who captured the win with a 96 serving efficiency. Other individual leaders on the night included Isabelle Wood who collected 11 out of the team's 46 digs for the night. 

"We knew as a group that we had to keep the energy up and as seniors, we came together and we were like 'hey this could be our last game, let's play smart as hard as we can,'" Protzman said. 

Senior Lexi Protzman pushes the ball over the net against Bondurant-Farrar in round two of postseason play on Thursday, Oct. 22 in Grimes.

Overall it was another tough battle with a Bondurant-Farrar squad who DCG has now seen at every level of the season from regular-season action all the way to the state tournament. 

"We knew going into this game that Bondurant-Farrar was a strong team, a well-coached team and that we would have to play our best to beat them," said Voelker. "This time of year, every team will be like that so we just have to be as prepared as we can be." 

Next up for the Mustangs will be the Class 4A Region 4 title game. After seventh-ranked Marion pulled off the come from behind win against North Polk, that will mean a road trip for the Mustangs as they travel to Marion High School on Tuesday, Oct. 27. It will be the first-ever match-up between the Mustangs and the Indians and it will begin at 7 p.m. 

Grace Mikota with a running play receiving a Bondurant-Farrar serve in postseason play on Thursday, Oct. 22 in Grimes.