The storied 2018 season put forth by the Dallas Center-Grimes volleyball team came to an abrupt end Thursday afternoon as the tournament third seeded Fillies fell to Cedar Rapids Xavier in the Class 4A semi-final match-up.
After claiming a strong set one victory 25-16, the Fillies just couldn't find a win from there on out and dropped the next three sets 25-12, 25-23, and 25-21. The loss concludes what was a historic season for the Fillie volleyball team that began with a program best 17 straight wins to initiate the season and then continued on with a state tournament berth. That state tournament berth made history as the first trip to Cedar Rapids for the Fillies in nine years, dating back to the 2009 season but history continued to be made as the Fillies captured their first state tournament win since that 2009 campaign.
After claiming their first state tournament win in quite some time, the Fillies were focused on the Lady Saints of Xavier who took down their round one opponent, fellow conference foe Pella, in three straight sets. Heading into the match-up, the Lady Saints held top five spots within Class 4A in kills (1,129), aces (229), and assists (1,054). They brought a lot to the table and a lot for DC-G head coach Cheryl Voelker to focus on.
“Xavier is a well balanced team who is very disciplined in what they do,” said Voelker. “We're going to have to be very clean with what we do well because Xavier is too good to be hurting ourselves with silly mistakes.”
For the most part, the Fillies played sound volleyball which was showcased in the very first set. Out of the 39 kills put forth by DC-G throughout the match, 13 of them came in that first set which helped neutralize the power of the Lady Saints. That led to what was a promising start for the Fillies who took set one 25-16.
Unfortunately, set two proved to have an opposite effect as a strong start by Xavier quickly turned into an even stronger finish by the Lady Saints and before DC-G could mount a comeback, they fell in set two by their worst set loss of the season. The Fillies just couldn't spur on the attack they've grown accustomed to as they delivered one of their season low seven kills in a single set. Set three was slightly better off for the Fillies but 16 kills by the Lady Saints compared to nine for the Fillies, once again gave way for a Xavier win, bringing the match to a do-or-die set four. Although what would be the final set had more of a back-and-forth feel, the Lady Saints pulled through late and held off a Fillie comeback, effectively putting a stop to the 2018 season for DC-G.
Every match has it's star and for the Fillies, junior Katelyn Knudsen was that star as she bested the team in kills with 16, bested Dakota Miles in a rare feat to pace the team in digs with 21, and tied with seniors Hannah Ashley and Abby Greiman with two aces each for the match. Senior Dakota Miles was right behind Knudsen in digs with 20, giving her a total of 580 for the season and 1,164 total digs for her career. That mark will go down as the most digs put forth by a DC-G volleyball player in school history.
With the official close to the 2018 season, the Fillies will unfortunately say goodbye to five senior players including Miles, Tiffany Denger who ends her senior season with a Class 4A third best 97 blocks, Abby Greiman, serving machine Hannah Ashley, and Madeline Duey, not to mention the always important senior manager Maylin Swayne. It will be a senior group that was not only feared by opponents, but well respected throughout the game of volleyball.
“This group of senior girls has been so great to work with,” said coach Voelker earlier this season. “They've all had volleyball experience coming into high school yet they've still grown tremendously. They've always had a go get'em attitude and have always been willing to outwork their competition. They were fundamentally sound but they were overall wonderful individuals who will go on to be so successful whether it's in the sport of volleyball or elsewhere.”
Now with an unfortunate ending, a well known phrase kicks in, “all good things come to an end” and that is exactly what has occurred with the 2018 edition of DC-G volleyball. The Fillies will officially end their season with the best start in school history, one of the best overall seasons in school history, and a 2018 record of 36-5.