English Valleys eliminated from Regional play

A sweep from Iowa Valley ended out the season for the Lady Bears volleyball team when the two met up on October 16 for the first round of Regional play. The match, like their season, was up and down throughout and ended in a close loss.

Coming into the matchup, English Valleys had only faced Iowa Valley once earlier in the season. They were swept but continued to get better as each set went along against one of the tougher teams in the conference. In Regional play, the Lady Bears were able to keep things close early but would go on to lose the first set 25-13. The second set was a low point for the team, scoring only seven points, going down two sets quickly.

“I honestly expected us to compete hard; and as has been the story of our season, we did at times but not for 25 points,” Lady Bears coach Becky Becker said. “The second set was a disaster, and I told them as much between sets. They really re-grouped and fought hard, but all season we haven’t been able to maintain leads or runs.”

With their season on the line and a need to make something happen, the Lady Bears hung around and fought their way through the final set. They would come up just short but did score 20 points in their best set of the night.

“I thought our serving game was strong and we were having success with off speed and deep hit balls. That allowed us to stay with Iowa Valley, especially in the third set,” Becker said. “In order to win, we were going to have to control the net when Taylor Smith was in the front row and we didn’t do that early or consistently.”

Several Lady Bears saw their season end including Jessi Armstrong, Aly Warwick, Maddy Shaw, Kami Tippie, Elle Ayers and Ella Coffman. Despite the loss of talent and experience, the Lady Bears will turn the next chapter in their program next fall, with not much drop off expected.

“Losing a large group of seniors that have been such strong contributors to a program is never easy. No matter what has happened this season, these seniors have been resilient and have never quit,” Becker said. “I know that is something they have passed on to the younger players. They have helped create the culture I want – of young girls who are volleyball player, not kids who play volleyball – and they have done it with their actions both on and off the court.”