Volleyball team set for run at second state title

As the volleyball team is heading into playoff season with a 43-0 record, head coach Matthew Johnson is still working on refining areas for the team to get even better.

“The biggest weakness for this group is a lack of experience in tough situations. This group of players has done such a great job on a match by match basis that they have not been consistently pushed by a lot of teams.  Luckily, we did have a number of teams step up and play us tough at conference tournament, which should help us in the postseason,” Johnson said.

Senior Ashley Schildroth also said that being pushed by challenging competition is important.

“One of our weaknesses for this season is that we have not lost much at all this season and have never been really behind in a set. If we are at State, and we are losing by a lot, we might begin to shut down or not know how to come back out of a deficit,” Schildroth said.

But the Tigers have bounced back from two set loses against Waterloo West and Linn Mar on Oct. 13.

“This season we have had to overcome our first set loss from West a couple of weeks ago. Before them, we had not lost a set in over a year. I think that the loss was a wake up call reminding us that we still have to work hard to win,” Schildroth said

The Tigers are ready to face the top teams ahead.

“We will have a hard time no matter who we play in the postseason. Linn Mar and Cedar Rapids Jefferson are good defensive teams that make us take extra swings, while Ankeny Centennial and West Des Moines Valley are powerful offensive teams that we will need to serve tough and defend against,” Johnson said.“I would say the biggest strength for this group is the fact that they are the best passing and defensive team in the state, so even when they are struggling in other areas, they can have confidence that their defense will keep them in points” Johnson said.

The Tigers have returning letterwinners from last year’s state championships team who know what is needed to succeed. Junior Kirsten Graves said, “Our team’s strengths definitely got transferred over from last year being able to practice against a lot of Division 1 players, which helped us become a strong defensive team while still having aggressive hitters,” Graves said.

The team chemistry is strong given that they have bonds off the hardwood.

“I think our team has really good chemistry with each other. We are all really good friends and want to hangout outside of the gym too, so when it comes to game time, we are able to play well as a team,” Schildroth said.    

The chemistry of the team is shown on the court as they work together to get the job done successfully.

“I think our team has really good chemistry with each other. We are all really good friends and want to hangout outside of the gym too, so when it comes to game time, we are able to play well as a team.” Schildroth said.

The team has big goals to make it to the championship and give Cedar Falls another state champion title.

“I am extremely excited to see how we do during post season. Our team loves each other. We got second guessed about this year’s team due to how good last year’s team was and the amount of players we lost from last year. Our goal is to prove everyone wrong and prove how much we deserve a back to back state championship,” Graves said.

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