The Western Dubuque volleyball team wasted little time, or energy, getting things rolling in the right direction as the Bobcats ran their six-match schedule last week and improved to 8-2 for the season.
The Bobcats got things rolling by taking care of Wahlert, 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-11, 25-22) in Dubuque, Sept. 1 and then disposed of Dubuque Senior, 3-1 (27-25, 25-11, 15-25, 25-22) in front of the Bobcats’ home crowd in Epworth, Sept. 3.
Two days later, the Bobcats swept their four matches at the Shirley Ryan Invitational in Mount Vernon, Sept. 5.
However, while things looked good on the scoreboard, the Bobcats suffered a big loss last week that they are managing because of their team chemistry and player depth. After bombing away for 17 kills and eight aces in their match against Wahlert, Meredith Bahl suffered an injury with her right arm and was pulled out of the lineup in the third set of their battle with the Rams.
“She’s one of the best six-rotation players in the state and it’s not going to be easy with her being out of the line-up for a while,” said Megan Scherrman, the Bobcats’ head coach. “If I know one thing about my team it’s that there is no way they are going to give up because they lost one player, no matter who and how important that player might be to this team. Volleyball is a team sport, not a one-player sport. The girls did a fantastic job of mentally and physically stepping up where they needed to and got the job done.”
After dropping the third set, the Bobcats were treading water while they were figuring out and getting used to the rotation of players on the court.
Up 12-8, the Bobcats allowed six straight points and that caused Scherrman to call a timeout to settle things down.
“I told them there were three things I was proud of them for. I was proud of Franny (Heiberger) for stepping up and going out there filling Meredith’s spot in the rotation because it wasn’t an easy job for her. I was proud of how they were fighting and showing how badly they wanted to win this game and then I was really proud of just the way they came together on that court,” said Scherrman. “The team chemistry on this squad is one of a kind. I think that they really showed that tonight and that allowed us to settle down to finish off the game.”
“We were a little tight and we all had to go back out onto that court and play Bobcat volleyball,” said Madison Maahs. “All six of us needed to get going because it wasn’t going to be just one player who was going to put that match away. We all had to work together as a team on the floor to get this win.”
Western Dubuque has also been leaning on an aggressive service game focused on keeping the ball in bounds. When they have been able to execute a strong service game, they have been able to keep their opponents out of system which is allowing the Bobcats to run their offense.
An ace by Maddie Harris helped the Bobcats get some distance at 17-15 and a kill by Besler stretched the lead to 20-16 allowing the home team to sideout the rest of the way to close out the match.
“We really needed Meg (Besler) back there swinging away and let’s not forget that there aren’t a lot of setters who can get the ball to the right side of the court like Madison can,” said Scherrman. “We are so lucky to have her on our side of the court because our team knows she will deliver the ball on time and on target to the player who needs the ball.”
At Mount Vernon, the Bobcats beat Center Point-Urbana 2-0 (21-14, 21-12), Waterloo Columbus Catholic 2-1 (21-19, 13-21, 16-14), Grundy Center 2-1 (23-25, 21-15, 15-12) and Wahlert 2-0 (21-14, 21-6).
Bobcats’ stats for the week (not including match against Wahlert).
WD’s leaders were: kills — Harris 46, Meg Besler 45, Bahl 23, Libby Lansing 20, Maahs 13, Heiberger 6; assists — Maahs 143; digs — Ella Meyer 78, Harris 40, Natalie Ulrichs 19, Heiberger 18, Maahs 13, Bahl 12; blocks — Besler and Lansing 11, Maci Steffen 5, Harris 4; serves – Harris 62-for-63, Ulrichs 42-for-43, Bahl 29-for-30, Heiberger 28-for-30, Ulrichs 14-for-14, Meyer 18-for-19; aces — Meyer three, Bahl two and Steffen one.