Van Meter volleyball bounces back, cross country competes at Saydel

Megan Teske, Correspondent
Special to Dallas County News
Haedyn Rebelsky sets the ball for the Bulldogs during a match against West Central Valley on Thursday, Oct. 7 in Van Meter.

The Van Meter volleyball team played in the Martensdale St. Mary’s Volleyball Tournament on Oct. 9, and after falling in their first two sets, the Bulldogs bounced back.

The Bulldogs began the day against Montezuma and Southeast Warren, and lost both those matches two sets to none.

After the first two matches, Van Meter turned it around and won the final three matches over Earlham, Martensdale St. Mary’s and Pleasantville.

Head coach Sara Cook said what changed for the Bulldogs was getting used to some lineup changes as well as fixing some communication issues.

“There was a lot of communication errors to start the day so that was an easy fix once we actually got set on and focused on fixing that,” Cook said. “The girls also I think became a little bit more comfortable with swinging with the different setters that we had jumped in.”

Cook said the previous lineup wasn’t working the way she had wanted it to, so changes were needed to make sure the girls were being used to their full potential.

The turning point at the tournament for the Bulldogs came against Earlham, Van Meter’s first win of the day when the Bulldogs won two sets to one.

Bulldogs celebrate a block against West Central Valley on Thursday, Oct. 7 at Van Meter.

Earlham took the first set 24-22 before the Bulldogs responded and won set two 21-5 and set three 17-15 to swing momentum back their way for the day.

Cook said the team took the energy from the Earlham match and carried it over to the next one, which she was really proud of.

“The energy that they got from that third set definitely carried over and they were able to start on that high note instead of kind of waiting to ease into it,” Cook said.

Not only did that energy carry into the next match, but with Van Meter fighting for a second-place finish in the conference this week, the Bulldogs will be carrying the momentum from the tournament into this week.

Van Meter will compete against Woodward-Granger in its last regular season match and Cook said it will come down to who brings it the most.

“I think that we have kinda mentally known that we need to be able to show up that night and fight for it,” Cook said. “So I think coming off of the last three matches that we did on Saturday I think that is exactly the energy that we needed to kind of push forward into this week.”

Emma Gilliland goes up for a strike against West Central Valley on Thursday, Oct. 7 in Van Meter.

Another source for Van Meter’s energy is the young players on the team.

The Bulldogs have a number of freshmen on the team, but Cook said they don’t act like freshmen with the confidence they bring to the court.

“When my freshmen walk on the court they don’t really act like freshmen, they're pretty confident in themselves and I think that has also kind of loosened my upperclassmen into bringing that confidence up there too,” Cook said. “So I think everyone is starting to feed off of each other, that energy, that confidence during play.”

Van Meter will face off against Woodward-Granger at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Woodward-Granger High School.

Cross country competes at Saydel Invitational

The girls and boys cross country teams are nearing the end of the season with the conference meet coming up, but before that, both teams competed at the Saydel Invitational on Oct. 7.

Against seven other schools, the Van Meter girls placed second overall with a final score of 51. Placing ahead of the Bulldogs was North Polk in first with a score of 30 while Des Moines Christian finished third with 61 points.

The girls have been impressive lately, as just before the Saydel meet, they grabbed their fourth straight win at the Nodaway Valley meet Oct. 4.

The Van Meter girls cross country team poses for a photo after placing first at Nodaway Valley on Oct. 4.

Once again leading the Bulldogs was the duo of juniors Clare and Mary Kelly, placing second and third respectively in the 5k. Clare ran a time of 20:20 while Mary was not far behind with a final time of 20:40.

Also in the top 15 for the Van Meter girls was freshman Emma McCoy, who grabbed ninth with a time of 21:41, and sophomore Brooklyn Fryar, who finished 13th with a time of 22:21.

Rounding out Van Meter’s top five was sophomore Maddie Waldorf, who placed 24th with a time of 23:27.

As for the boys, the Bulldogs placed eighth among 10 other schools with a team score of 188. The top runner for Van Meter was senior Dustin Barth, who placed 15th with a final time of 18:25.

Freshman Luka Hulse came next for the Bulldogs in 26th with a time of 19:28 while senior Chris Coffie rounded out the top three for the boys in 46th at a time of 20:40.

Both cross country teams next run in the West Central Activities Conference meet at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Panorama Par 3 Golf Course.