Lynx volleyball team heads to state

Arlette Milstead, Reader Engagement and Activities Director

ALHS volleyball finished their season with the record of 37-3. They practiced five days a week and with all of their games, they won five tournaments. The playing, the culture, the perseverance, and their attitudes have improved since previous seasons and years. All the players are overcome with relief and joy that they have played at state.

“It means a lot, we’ve been working so hard for these past four years to try and get it and it just feels like a huge accomplishment and like our goal has been made,” senior Taylan Keefer said.

Even though girls’ volleyball met their ultimate goal of making it to state, it doesn’t mean that they chose to sit down and give up at state.

“Well, making it (state) was one thing; nobody expected us to sweep Ankeny Centennial so I feel like we have set ourselves a higher goal,” senior Julia Wagoner said. “Because when we get there, there are good teams but we realize that we’re good too.

Their culture has allowed them to move up the ladder more and more. They have all had their personal accomplishments as an individual player as well as team players.

“Our personal goals(as a team) have been to beat city champs, and beat everyone in the city which we accomplished,” senior Sam Christiansen said. “I’ve hit my 2000 assists this year, Taylan hit her 1000 digs, Elaina hit her 1000, Julia’s hit her 1000 digs; you can tell how well rounded we are because everybody’s just showing their success.” 

Head coach Katie Darrington has been coaching for thirteen years and specifically ALHS volleyball for four years. She is very proud of her players and is excited for them to be playing at state. 

“It’s a great validation to our team and program, that hard work pays off. We want to perform to our best ability and to have fun, as this is the payoff for hard work. I am so happy and proud of this team,” Darrington said.

Even though volleyball season is over, there will be quite a few seniors that are going to be continuing their volleyball career in college. 

“I have committed to playing volleyball at Iowa Western and that’s only a two year school, so my plan is after I graduate from Iowa Western, to finish at a four year school,” senior Elaina Bohnet said.

With the end of volleyball season, the coaches and girls realize that this is the end of a great period and much will be missed. When coaching volleyball, there is a bond that can’t be broken.

“I love watching female athletes realize their potential and helping them see the power in succeeding, believing in themselves, and supporting other women,” Darrington said.

When it came to playing at state, Ankeny defeated winning all three sets. The first one being 25-20, 25-15, and finally swept the floor with 25-18. 

It was a change of environment, playing on the floor of the volleyball state tournament for the first time.

“I was not expecting it to be that big,” junior Jillian Shanks said. “It was very nerve racking but a great experience. I think the whole team was pretty nervous but mostly excited. I’d say we did our best when we just kept fighting for each point no matter what the score was.” 

   The outcome that players hope for isn’t always the one that ends up happening. All the players can do is learn from their mistakes and move forward.

“It was kind of an off game for everyone and we didn’t play ourselves. I’d say we did our best when we just kept fighting for each point no matter what the score was,” Shanks said.