Early end to a great season

Posted 11/18/99

Some of the emotions …

By Sports Dept.

IMS falls to Sioux Center in the first round of the State Tournament

Some of the emotions were expected— sadness, disappointment, dejection. But …

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Early end to a great season


Some of the emotions …

By Sports Dept.

IMS falls to Sioux Center in the first round of the State Tournament

Some of the emotions were expected— sadness, disappointment, dejection. But there was something else in the eyes of the Iowa Mennonite girls as they left the court—shock. They all seemed to silently ask, “What just happened?”

What had just happened was Sioux Center taking advantage of a tentative IMS team in game one, then capitalizing on several uncharacteristic IMS mistakes to steal the momentum and take games three and four. The scrappy and aggressive IMS team that had taken a 3-1 win at New London to get to state made only a brief appearance in their 15-6, 6-15, 15-11, 15-1 loss in the first round of the State Tournament at the Five Season Center in Cedar Rapids last Thursday.

Even after several minutes to reflect, Jessica Wilson still had a hard time putting it into words.

“We just seemed to let up,” Wilson said. “I don’t know how it happened. In the first game, we were nervous; the second game, they made mistakes and we didn’t; then in the third game it had evened out, but then they started to build momentum while we let up. We just didn’t finish.

“It’s not that we didn’t want it; we didn’t mean to, but we just seemed to let down.”

IMS coach Dwight Gingerich said that while his girls were prepared, it seemed like their hearts were not in it.

“We played like we were happy just to be at the State Tournament,” Gingerich said. “We had a difficult week of practice and I didn’t feel like our concentration was as it had been. There was a lot of enthusiasm and emotion spent after we beat New London in that great regional final.

“We have some girls that are pretty disappointed. I am proud of the effort the girls gave and it wasn’t for a lack of desire, there was just something deep down that wasn’t in place for us to come out and put it all together.”

At the start of the match, IMS played tentative and unsure, allowing Sioux Center to build an early 7-0 lead off several serve receive and hitting errors—the type of mistakes that Gingerich said eventually gave Sioux Center the match.

“We obviously hurt ourselves a lot,” Gingerich said. “We got ourselves into a funk where we made the same sorts of mistakes again and again and [Sioux Center] just didn’t cut us any slack. Sioux Center played very well; they didn’t make any mistakes.

“As a team we just made too many goofy errors.”

IMS finally scored a point when Jessica Wilson blocked a Shari Vermeer kill attempt, the first shot in what was touted as a battle between two of the best hitters in the state. With the score stalled at 13-6 in favor of the Warriors, the two traded kills and blocks through six side-outs before Sioux Center finally scored the final two points off of a Warriors’ ace and an IMS hitting error.

Game two started much the same as game one for IMS as errors allowed Sioux Center to build a 4-0 lead. Wilson put down two kills, one for a side-out and the other for a point. The Warriors got serve back and scored another point before an Ashley Wilson kill gave IMS the side-out and brought Kristi Miller up to serve.

Miller fired off two aces to begin a string of seven points, highlighted by a Shantell Detweiler spike and two more aces by Miller, building an 8-5 IMS lead and stealing Sioux Center’s momentum from game one. Then with the score at 8-6, Tiffany TeBockhorst finished off the game with a service string of seven points, punctuated with an ace and a Katie Boshart block.

IMS remained hot behind Jill Widmer’s serving to score seven unanswered points. Jessica Wilson scored two kills and a block on Vermeer as Widmer helped her own cause with an ace. It appeared that IMS was now on a roll toward a game and possibly a match win, reversing their slow start.

But Sioux Center won back serve and began to regain control, first by scoring on an ace then by scoring on a Vermeer kill where she reached over the net and slapped down a misplaced pass to IMS’s setter Miller.

Jessica Wilson returned the favor by blocking a Vermeer spike to give IMS a 9-4 lead. But then the error bug reappeared for IMS, allowing the Warriors to get back into the game, tying it al 11-all. The Wilson/Vermeer battle flared up again as the two traded kills and side-outs. However, by this point the momentum was clearly back on the side of Sioux Center as they took the lead on an ace, pulling out to the 15-11 win.

Kristi Miller said that she felt the game slipping away and she and her team were unable to regain control.

“There was a big momentum drop there,” Miller said. “We let down in that third game. We had a good lead, but then it seemed like we didn’t keep the control.”

Gingerich shook his head as he tried to account for the reversal of fortunes between games two and three.

“In game two, they had trouble passing and we served well,” Gingerich said. “But then in game three, it’s almost like we began to coast and we made some errors and that is the kind of thing that you cannot do against a team like Sioux Center. It seemed like we sort of undid it ourselves.”

By the start of game four, it was all over. IMS immediately lost the opening serve, setting Sioux Center off to score nine unanswered points, punctuated by a flurry of kills and blocks by Vermeer. IMS’s only point of the game came off of a Warriors’ hitting error, after which Sioux Center cruised to the 15-1 victory to win the match.

Shari Vermeer also came out on top of her match up against Jessica Wilson, collecting 21 kills and eight blocks. Wilson finished with 13 kills, 10 digs and five blocks.

“They both showed what they were capable of doing,” Gingerich said of the two Division I college recruits. “Vermeer had a good early part of the match when we were unable to get the ball to Jessica. But then she came alive; really showing her stuff in games two and three. But then we made those errors. Letting Vermeer back in and to take control.”

Jessica Wilson said after the match that she was pleased to be considered in the same league with a competitor like Vermeer.

“She is just a very good all-around player. She had a great game.”

Wilson also led the team in digs with 10 in what was her final high school volleyball match.

“High school just flew by for me and you never see this day coming. It was good to end it at state, but its still crazy that it’s all over,” Wilson said.

Kristi Miller served a perfect 17-for-17 with five aces and collected 22 assists. Jill Widmer served 16-for-17 with two aces and Tiffany TeBockhorst was also perfect, serving 11-for-11 with an ace. Ashley Wilson picked up nine digs and five kills and Shantell Detweiler collected three kills and seven digs. Jeana Pickard had three kills and Katie Boshart had five blocks.

In the semifinal match, Dike-New Hartford 3-2 ousted Sioux Center. Tripoli defeated Dike New-Hartford 3-0 for the Class 1A championship after defeating top-ranked North Kossuth and Treynor in the earlier rounds.

Afterwards, Gingerich told his team not to let this match dampen what had been a very good year for the IMS squad.

“We had a great year,” Gingerich said. “I don’t think very many people expected us to go back to state. In the big picture of things, we have a lot to feel great about. Right now it is hard for them to understand that this really was a great year, they are pretty disappointed. We were a team that improved right to the end. I was sorry to see it finish the way it did today.”

Miller, also playing in her final IMS volleyball match, echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“We did a lot more that what was expected after our state appearance last year, then losing a lot of seniors, people thought that things would not go as well this year but we proved a point in working hard and committing ourselves and keeping our goals in focus all season.”