Van Meter volleyball picks up win, girls cross country kicks off season

Megan Teske, Correspondent
Special to Dallas County News
Sami McDonald cheers as the Bulldogs score a point on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in the regional final in Stuart.

Volleyball gets back in the win column

The Van Meter volleyball team added another win to its record after playing Interstate 35 last week.

The Bulldogs took on the Roadrunners on Aug. 31 and won in three straight sets, winning 25-11, 25-19 and 25-21.

Head coach Sara Cook said the team is starting to get more comfortable in its rotation after losing a lot of seniors last year, and now new players are stepping into leadership positions.

“I think we’re just trying to find what our potential is this year,” Cook said. “What level we can continue to play at.”

During the match with Interstate 35, Van Meter had 18 service aces. Serving is something Cooks puts emphasis on in practice.

Malia Kelly serves the ball on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, during the regional title match against Underwood.

Cook said at first the team was focused on making sure the serves stayed in but now the Bulldogs are focusing on serving aggressively.

Van Meter has gotten out to a 4-3 start on the season, which Cook said is partially due to the tough competition the Bulldogs faced in the first week of the season as well as trying to solidify a lineup, but she said they can only get better.

“I think we have a lot of good, mentally tough players this season and we have a lot of girls that want to get in and work hard,” Cook said.

Some of those players on the team are freshmen, who Cook said you couldn’t even tell are freshmen if you watched a practice.

Cook said the freshmen jumped right in, are very vocal on the court and are willing to make big plays and work hard.

“I think the team, my last year players that are returning, I think they’re just excited to see that energy from younger players,” Cook said.

Van Meter's Abby Matt with a strike Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, against ACGC.

Along with working hard and serving strong, Cook said the team has also done a good job of finding the heavy hitters on the team and utilizing them.

Although Van Meter has done some things well, there is still room for improvement. Cook said she wants the team to raise its tempo and make sure everyone is going in to distract the other team’s blockers.

Van Meter were looking ahead to taking on Earlham at home.

“We know who their big hitter is so our main focus is trying to kind of take her out of the equation as much as possible,” Cook said before the Sept. 7 match-up.

The Bulldogs will next take on Ogden at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at Ogden High School.

Van Meter's Zoie Vaught returns an Underwood serve on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in the regional final in Stuart.

Girls cross country begins season at DCG Invitational

The Van Meter girls cross country team got off to a strong start when the Bulldogs competed at the DCG Invitational on Aug. 31.

In a field of 10 total teams, including seven ranked teams, Van Meter finished in fourth with a team score of 130.

Placing in front of the Bulldogs was DCG in first with a score of 46, Indianola at second with a score of 53 and Carlisle in third with a score of 62.

Leading Van Meter for the girls was junior Clare Kelly, who finished in second place with a run time of 20:05 for the 5 km.

Junior Mary Kelly also landed in the top 15 with a time of 21:32 while freshman Emma McCoy battled her way into the top 30, placing 27th with a final run time of 22:43. McCoy was also a top seven medalist in the freshmen division.

The Bulldogs were back in action Sept. 7 at Winterset Lakeview Country Club before traveling to Ames for a rescheduled meet on Sept. 9.