CEDAR RAPIDS – Dike-New Hartford entered its first match of the state volleyball tournament boasting a 42-0 record. In those 42 wins, 40 came via the sweep variety. The two that weren’t sweeps, the Wolverines lost just one set.
They are the defending 2A state champions. They return four starters. The expectations entering the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena are to repeat. Don’t think that doesn’t bring pressure.
“I was really nervous. I know a few people were too,” Dike-New Hartford sophomore Brooke Morgan said.
Morgan said the pregame jitters wore off during the opening introductions. It showed. The Wolverines had no issues in their first match, sweeping Sumner-Fredericksburg 3-0. The closest match was the final one. The Dike-New Hartford won 25-17.
The loudest Sumner-Fredericksburg cheer of the night, came in the third set. The Cougars tied the set at 13 and eventually forced the Wolverines to burn a timeout. At one point the Cougars scored four straight points and led the set.
“Eh, six or seven,” sophomore Briana Weber said of her team’s performance. “We didn’t play really well. We didn’t pass the greatest, we didn’t do things that make things happen. But hopefully we can get it settled.”
The postgame sentiment echoed Weber’s thoughts, due to the fact there was none. The team shook hands with Sumner-Fredericksburg, but there was no loud screaming or jumping up and down that is the norm for wins at the state tournament.
The game itself was more valuable than the performance, as long as that performance resulted in a win. For players who haven’t experienced the atmosphere before can now focus on the task at hand.
“I think it’s always important to come out and get that first one, especially our new kids that haven’t been down here before,” Dike-New Hartford head coach Diane Harms said. “Now they’ve had that experience, hopefully they can relax a little bit more.”
Harms doesn’t acknowledge the pressure, the situation or the expectations before the match. Despite starting four sophomores, she had players who have competed and won state titles, leading with Weber.
For her, the feeling was more excitement, than nerves. The jitters came from not being on the court.
“We were more excited to get back to playing,” sophomore Briana Weber said. “It’s been a while. It was just a lot of fun.”