The Bluejay’s volleyball team serving up a winning recipe

: Cesar J ToledoSports

The Perry High School’s girls volleyball team is already “setting” themselves up for a successful season.

On the hardwood floors of Perry’s gym encapsulated by the thunderous sounds of volleyballs bouncing everywhere, we find the Bluejays hard at work making sure they pad their resume with another winning season.

The team is looking to improve upon last year’s winning record. Second year head coach Kristel Schultz guided the team to a 18 and 17 record, which is an 11-game win improvement from the previous year’s squad who finished at 7 and 31.

Schultz is pulling no punches as she’s had her girls training weeks before the start of the season. She attributes her team’s attitude and willingness to listen as the recipe for their winning attitude.

“I would say that discipline is the difference,” she said. “It’s not me being mean. I just think the girls are more focused and more disciplined in what they are doing.”

Schultz has noticed the subtle changes that her team’s embraced, which has translated into fixing any mental mistakes.

“They think about everything they send over the net,” she said. “They are not sending over free balls. They are strategic about it.”

Everyone is being looked at to step up and contribute day in and day out, especially after the team lost seniors Amy Marckres and Claire Marburger who combined for 407 kills. This year coach Schultz has implemented a new change, which she feels will garner a lot more motivation.

“Last year I did have a captain. This year I don’t have a captain and it is kind of fun because they all step up at different times,” she said.”If one of us is down then somebody else steps up. I like the team dynamic that it creates.”

The season is still in its infancy but the team has already been hitting the road and competed in a series of games against some formidable opponents. On August 27th, they played St. Edmond Catholic High School and later on took part in the Skip Anderson Classic in Bondurant, Ia.

The squad’s performance looked top-notch as they beat the Gaels in straight sets. The Bluejays looked poised as they posted 22 kills and a serve success of 67 including 12 aces. Coach Schultz was thrilled with the level of play she saw from her team.

“Honestly, every player impressed me. Ellie Nielsen and Grace Marburger saw the court well and were able to place the ball. Taylor didn’t make an offensive hitting error,” she said. “Sidney Vancil stepped up and set the ball well, earning 19 assists. This is one position I was concerned about after losing Maggie Lowe (a four-year varsity setter). Mariah Duffy played scrappy in the back row for us. Jo Diw impressed me with her aggressive serves. Victoria Hegstrom added three blocks for us.”

Two days later the Bluejays were at it again playing at the invitational. This time the girls’ play struggled a bit but still managed to come away with two wins. Coach Schultz understands that’s the name of the game and is going to make sure to fix any deficiencies she noticed.

“Because volleyball is such a fast-paced game, the momentum can change in a single point play,” she said. “The tournament demonstrated that we need to practice keeping the momentum and if we have a side out, focusing on earning the next point to avoid giving the momentum away.”

So many games are still left on the schedule but fans should set phone reminders when the Lady Bluejays take the court on an eventful night.

“Last year we had a really close game with Greene County so they are our senior night this year,” Schultz said. “We came away with a win last year at their place so there is going to be a lot of competition.”

The Bluejays learned that nothing comes easy as both teams played a seesaw battle with each team splitting the first four matches, but in the end the Jays prevailed in the fifth game with a 15 to 13 win.

The team is well on its way of securing another winning season and continuing a tradition that has been passed down to them.

“Last year’s group of girls started the program exactly how I wanted the program laid out,” Schultz said.

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

9/8/15 ADM Perry 5:30 PM

9/10/15 Perry Invitational Perry 4:30 PM

9/12/15 ADM Invitational (9) Adel 8:00 AM

9/15/15 Ballard Huxley 5:30 PM

9/22/15 Bondurant-Farrar Perry 5:30 PM

9/29/15 Carroll Carroll 5:30 PM

10/5/15 North Polk Invite (9/JV) Alleman 4:30 PM

10/6/15 Winterset Perry 5:30 PM

10/8/15 Jayette Tournament Perry 4:30 PM

10/13/15 Dowling Catholic/Saydel (9) Perry 5:30 PM

10/15/15 Carlisle Carlisle 5:30 PM

10/17/15 Knoxville Invitational Knoxville 8:00 AM

10/19/15 Greene County Perry 5:30 PM

10/22/15 Boone Boone 5:30 PM