Did somebody say postseason?
That was the buzz on and off the court after the Western Dubuque volleyball team made quick work of Benton Community in their Class 4A Region 7 semifinal match played in Epworth Oct. 22. Western Dubuque easily won the battle of the Bobcats in less than an hour as they coasted to a three-set sweep (25-4, 25-14, 25-10) where they recaptured the explosive play they showcased during their playoff run last season.
“We kind of came out a totally different team I would say. I don’t know if it’s just the word postseason that brings out the best is us, but we play for each other and we really showed that tonight,” said Madison Maahs, who dished out an efficient 40 assists in the match. “I’d say this is the WD Bobcat team that we always wanted to be.”
“It must just be something about postseason because they just came out and played. I haven’t seen them play this way in a while,” said Megan Scherrman, the Bobcats’ head coach. “They were excited when they came out and got that feeling and remembered what it was like to be dominant again. It was great to see them come out and play like this.”
“That was a lot of fun. We came into tonight knowing that we needed to pump it up a little bit, and we did it,” said Libby Lansing, who had 10 kills on the night. “It really brought up the energy in us and in the crowd.”
It didn’t take Western Dubuque long to get in a rhythm in this match as Meredith Bahl hammered down a kill for the first point of the night. Maci Steffen followed with a kill from the middle and Bahl delivered back-to-back aces for a 4-0 lead.
Not knowing who Maahs is going to set makes the offensive attack of Western Dubuque so very dangerous. When the ball is passed to her off the dig so she can easily get her hands on it makes it fun for Maahs as it allows her to deliver the ball on time and on target so attackers can do their thing. Maahs displayed her setting ability early in the match when she was close to the net and perfectly executed a jump set that allowed Lansing to give the ball a floor burn as the home team jumped an 8-1 lead.
“Give credit to our pass tonight. It stepped it up and it made it easy for me to dish the ball out to free hitters who can hit the ball down all the time,” said Maahs.
“We’ve been working our middles hard. We know that we have to get the ball to our middles in order to get some of that pressure off of our pins,” said Scherrman. “They have been working real hard in practice and tonight it showed. I was proud of them tonight.”
All night long Maahs was delivering passes to the front line at will as they were going up uncontested at the net more times than there were blockers. That gave the Bobcats’ attackers the chance to just blast the ball at will. Lansing was active at the net the entire first set and collected two of the final four kills with Bahl’s blast ending it 25-4.
Western Dubuque had been working all season long on fixing so many small things. All that tinkering paid off in this match as all facets of their thrilling style of play were on display.
“It’s making sure that all those little things come together and tonight they did that. Offensively and defensively they were doing a great job of keeping things going on our side,” said Scherrman.
One thing that had been absent from Western Dubuque for most of the regular season has been that fiery after point celebration they had when they made their march to the Class 4A state final last year. During this match, not only did the play to win the point look similar to last season, but the excitement after the point seemed to be state quality too.
“We know that districts and postseason gives us a lot more energy. It showed that we enjoy playing together and for each other tonight. We were all out there jumping. We were all out there having fun,” said Lansing. “This time of year just brings out the energy in us.”
“We’ve had plenty of conversations about energy. Ella Meyer is a girl who jumps higher after the point than anybody else in the gym. I asked her last week where is that energy?,” said Scherrman. “Well, I think we found out what it takes for Ella to jump like that … it must be postseason. She was jumping high again tonight and it’s so much fun to see them having fun out on the court together.”
WD’s leaders vs Benton: kills — Harris 12, Lansing 10, Besler eight, Meredith Bahl seven, Maci Steffen two, Maahs one; assists — Maahs 40; digs — Meyer 14, Harris seven, Bahl six, Maahs and Natalie Ulrichs five eah, Besler three, Steffen two; blocks — Lansing three, Harris and Steffen two, Bahl, Besler and Maahs one; serves — Bahl 21-of-21, Ulrichs 18-of-18, Harris 11-of-11, Steffen 14-of-15, Meyer 12-of-13; aces — Bahl and Meyer three, Ulrichs two, Harris, Maahs and Steffen one.