(KMAland) -- On August 4th, I posted my first volleyball preview of the year. Other conference previews came on August 6th, August 10th, August 13th, August 14th, August 17th and August 21st.
The first "KMAland Volleyball" story came on Monday, August 26th. Ever since that day, KMA Sports has covered volleyball (and football and cross country and softball and tennis and golf) every single night and every single day. That includes 14 conferences among the states of Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.
In Iowa, that’s seven conferences and 61 schools that we have had the scores of and the statistics from every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (and sometimes Wednesday, Friday and even Sunday). During the course of this season, we’ve broadcasted 35 volleyball matches (with five more to go before the state tournament), including 35 different KMAland schools.
Along the way, we’ve come across some great players, coaches, fans and other media members. It’s been a ton of fun covering these schools and teams throughout the year. I know many of my fellow media members can say the same. So, it makes it a little more special when you see these teams -- that you’ve been thinking about, writing about and covering since all the way back in early August – make deep postseason runs.
I couldn’t imagine just randomly jumping in and beginning our coverage when an area team starts to make a run in the postseason. That’s bandwagon coverage, and I have the same reaction when I notice new Patriots fans or Alabama fans or – ummmm - Nationals fans. The eyebrows raise, then they come down and then I’m high-key judging. Where have you been all this time while the rest of us were busy telling these teams’ great stories throughout the year?
Now, that’s just me. I notice it immediately. Do the athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and area businesses notice it, too? Gosh, I sure hope so. Regardless, we’ll be back at it with regional finals on Monday. And then again on Tuesday. Just like any other Monday and Tuesday throughout the year.
With all that said, there were five more KMAland conference schools that had their seasons come to a finish last night. We honor them and their seniors today…
Lenox (48): What a season! The Tigers won 19 matches – an improvement of 10 wins from last season. Creston News Advertiser’s Larry Peterson – one of those guys that has been there since the beginning (of time) – had a little tweet on the Tigers’ accomplishments last night:
“Lenox, 19-10, posted school’s first winning season in volleyball since the 2002 regional final team was 16-7. This is just the 7th winning season since 1991.”
HUGE accomplishments for this team, and it’s a legacy seniors Camryn Douglas and Kayla Yzaguirre and foreign exchange student Luana Plese will take with them. Douglas was the team’s No. 3 hitter, Yzaguirre was their star libero and Plese stepped right into a setting role for a program-changing season. These are pretty big losses, but an incredible junior class returns next year. Even bigger things could be on the way for the Tigers.
Southwest Valley (49): You want to talk about a legacy? This senior class definitely left one, too. We’re talking a school-record 25 wins, countless other individual records and a Pride of Iowa Conference championship – the first one for the program. Those seniors – Jentry Schafer, Kayley Myers, Delaney Dalton, Olivia Jacobs and Allison Marshall all played large roles throughout the year.
For Schafer, she is simply among the greatest to ever wear the Southwest Valley jersey. She was a beast hitting and blocking every single season of her career, and she turned into a full-rotation stalwart as the career moved along. Myers had another big year on the outside for the T’Wolves, and as much pub as Schafer gets, SW Valley could not have done what they did without both of them. Plus, Dalton was a strong complementary player and all-around player, and Jacobs was fantastic in the libero role. For Marshall, it was more of a reserve role, but we all have roles to play in life and she held hers to a T.
Boyer Valley (50): The Bulldogs put together another strong season and improved in the win column by four from a season ago. Seniors Jessica Fokken, Abbie Miller, Marie Hanigan and Taylor Klein all played nearly every set this year. Fokken was the team’s top hitter and blocker while Miller was the setter, Klein the top back row player and Hanigan served as complementary hitter. Additionally, Nicole Behrendt was a part of a great, great senior class.
Coon Rapids-Bayard (51): Another wonderful year for the Crusaders, which won 23 matches this year. It was their 23rd that I’m guessing they will remember for a long time, as they beat RVC regular season and tournament champion Glidden-Ralston in a regional quarterfinal battle. This year’s seniors were led by star libero Cora McAlister and a strong hitter and defender in Lexie Davis. Emily Daniel also saw some time hitting and blocking this year in her final season with CRB.
Seymour (52): The last Bluegrass Conference team standing had a strong three-person senior class that won another 16 matches this year. Thayda Houser was the team’s top hitter this season while Erin Hackathorn ranked third on the team in kills per set. Harley Trimble also did some hitting and was a solid blocker at the net. The Warriorettes do return a solid sophomore class, as well as some others from the junior and freshman group that saw time this year.
Another great group of seniors saw their volleyball careers come to an end on Thursday evening. It was honor to cover them – all season long.
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