Hawks looking to take the next step

: Cesar J ToledoSports Reporterctoledo@theperrychief.com
Hawks looking to take the next step

Last year the Woodward-Granger girls’ volleyball team came within one game of competing for a State Championship. This year’s squad is leaving no stone unturned. They are doing everything possible to “spike” the competition.

While so many students were enjoying their last days of summer, the Hawks head coach Meg Jackson had her team in the gym where they conducted drills, ran laps, and honed their skills during the three and a half hour practice sessions. She’s making sure that her team has a chance to hold up that trophy at the end of the season.

“There is a lot of gaps that we’re filling in,”she said. “I would say we have been in the gym for three weeks including camp now and I am cautiously optimistic these girls are filling in the gaps well. We’ve had a different build than we have ever had. We are having girls step up because we did lose a lot of good passers. But these girls are developing quickly which is good for us.”

The team had a successful season last year posting a 31 and nine win-loss record. Despite losing six seniors including Abby Musser, who led the team with 266 kills, the team still has juniors Mary Hansen, Olivia McCune, and Bree Lesh, just to name a few, who are willing and able to carry that torch.

“They were big physical players for us last year, always have been,” Jackson said. “We are asking them to take on more leadership roles this year. Carry a lot of the weight of the team on their shoulders. Be the coach on the court.”

The team has already seen their hard work and training pay off as their play looked solid. On August 29th, the Hawks traveled to Bondurant to play in the Jay Invitational hosted by Bondurant-Farrar High School.

The squad played well coming away with a four and two record when it was all over. As a team the Hawks posted 107 kills and managed a 206-serve success. Coach Jackson was happy with her girl’s performance but did notice that there was still some work to be done. So she will waste no time getting back on the court.

“We get back into our gym and work through our areas of emphasis such as setter/hitter connection,” she said. “More hitters being available and mixing up our offense some more. Also, talking through our mental game, not playing cautiously and swinging for kills.”

Coach Jackson’s words must’ve sunk in as the Hawks beat the West Central Valley High School Wildcats in straight sets on Tuesday. Jackson attributes her team’s impressive play to their ability as a team to serve better collectively.

“I think we did a lot better serving,” Hansen said. “Everyone had a lot of aces.”

The team also benefited from finding McCune, the Hawks middle-hitter, who was effective at the net. Team chemistry was apparent as the Hawks seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.

“I thought I was communicating more with the setters and we just connected really well,” McCune said.

The lady Hawks don’t have mush time to bask in the win as they have one week to prepare as the school’s biggest rival rolls into town on September 8.

“Des Moines Christian is a big game for us. It’s typically us two that battle for the top spot in the conference,” Jackson said. “We play them right in the beginning of the season which is alright because you get done with it. The Des Moines Christian gets a good buzz for a game. I would say we get a good crowd.”

Jackson, who begins her 14th year and comes from a family of coaches, tries to keep her team motivated but acknowledges that she doesn’t have to do much.

“I feel that our players don’t want anything less than a state tournament and they haven’t gotten that the last few years, and that’s enough,” she said. “Success is another green banner on the wall. That’s success to them.”

Fall Schedule: All Varsity Games are subject to change. Always check the school’s website for details.

Tue 09/08: 7:00 pm Home vs Des Moines Christian School

Sat 09/12: TBA Away@ North Scott High School (Multiple Opponents) Meet: North Scott Invitational

Thu 09/17: 7:00 pm Away @ Ogden High School (League Event)

Sat 09/19 9:00 am Away@ Ballard Community High School (Multiple Opponents) Meet: Ballard Invitational

Tue 09/22 7:00 pm Away@ Van Meter Jr-Sr HS (League Event)

Tue 09/29 7:00 pm Home vs Madrid HS/MS (League Event)

Tue 10/06 7:00 pm Home vs Panorama High School (League Event)

Thu 10/08 4:30 pm Away @ Perry MS/HS (Multiple Opponents) Meet: Perry Invitational

Tue 10/13 7:00 pm Home vs Earlham High School (League Event)

Thu 10/15 7:00 pm Away @ Guthrie Center MS/HS (League Event)

Sat 10/17 8:30 am Home vs Multiple Opponents Meet: Norm McCune Invitational