Van Meter football advances in playoffs, volleyball advances to regional championship

Megan Teske, Correspondent
Special to Dallas County News
Van Meter players head onto the field for the second half during a playoff game against Pleasantville on Friday, Oct. 22.

The Van Meter football team started the postseason with a strong win to send them to the second round of playoffs.

The Bulldogs took on Pleasantville in the first round of playoffs Oct. 22 and won 77-14 to move on.

Head coach Eric Trudo said the team got off to a fast start, as the Bulldogs scored 35 points in the first quarter, and the offense didn’t let up after that.

“Rolled up 430 yards of offense on only 42 plays and really executed very efficiently,” Trudo said. “So we really got off to a fast start and just really didn’t look back much.”

A lot of that offense for Van Meter was on the ground, as the Bulldogs really got their run game going with 369 yards and eight touchdowns.

Trudo said Van Meter relied so much on the ground game due to the offensive line, as they were doing an excellent job blocking and helping to create big plays.

On the defensive side, senior Reese Moore had a big game with two interceptions. Moore returned one for a touchdown, and it became the fifth pick six of the season for Van Meter.

“He’s one of a great group of linebackers that we have and it was his turn to shine on Friday night,” Trudo said. “All four of them have done a great job all season.”

Van Meter's Ben Gordon evades a tackle from a Pleasantville player on Friday, Oct. 22.

Van Meter now moves on to face Woodward-Granger.

The Hawks present a unique challenge, Trudo said, as they pass the ball more effectively than the Bulldogs are used to with teams they have faced. 

“We’ll definitely have to polish some things up in our passing defense,” Trudo said. “But if we come out and we take care of the football and execute on special teams… then we’ll give ourselves a good opportunity to be successful again.”

During a time such as the playoffs, Trudo said leaders on the team help guide players during big moments. He said lots of players have been in this position before, so they help with controlling nerves but also providing a good example for how to play with intensity in the playoffs.

Trudo added that that is something he has been proud of this season, how the team has been able to focus and stay in the moment.

“They’re a team that really has stayed in the moment, hasn’t gotten ahead of themselves or anything and is just focused on each opponent,” Trudo said.

Van Meter takes on Woodward-Granger at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Van Meter School.

Haedyn Rebelsky serves during a playoff match against Central Decatur on Oct. 20.

Volleyball advances to championship

The Van Meter volleyball team finished its regular season in second place in the conference and are now competing in the regional tournament for a chance to go to state.

The Bulldogs have been steadily making their way through the regional tournament, first taking down Central Decatur in the quarterfinals then defeating Earlham in the semifinals.

Van Meter played Central Decatur on Oct. 20 and won in three straight sets, winning 25-22, 25-11 and 25-6.

Junior Abby Matt took control of the match from the hitting side, leading the team with 12 kills and a .375 hitting percentage. The rest of Van Meter’s 43 kills were spread across the board, with senior Zoie Vaught and junior Emma Gilliland coming next with seven and six respectively.

The tandem of senior Kaylie Golwitzer and freshman Haedyn Rebelsky contributed to all the kills with Golwitzer putting up 19 assists and Rebelsky adding 17.

It was also a strong day serving for the Bulldogs, as freshman Teya Speltz led with four serve aces while Golwitzer and Vaught followed with two each.

Van Meter continued its playoff push against Earlham on Oct. 25, winning three sets to one. The Bulldogs lost set one 25-20, but bounced back and won the remaining three sets 25-11, 25-21 and 25-9.

Leading Van Meter once again was Matt, who had a team-high 12 kills. Vaught followed with eight kills on the day while Rebelsky and Golwitzer put up 15 and 12 assists each.

Van Meter's Zoie Vaught with a dig for the Bulldogs during a playoff match against Central Decatur on Oct. 20. Vaught marked her 500th dig of her career during the match

Vaught also had a big day on defense, as she led with 14 digs and marked her 500th dig of her career. Also strong on defense was Speltz, who led the Bulldogs with five blocks, including two solo blocks.

Rounding out a strong day for the Bulldogs was the serving, led by Matt, who had eight serve aces, and Rebelsky, who landed five aces.

Van Meter will play in the regional championship against Dike-New Hartford at 8 p.m. Oct. 27 at Marshalltown High School.