Volleyball: Rams host SEV in first-ever regional game at new high school
By BRANDON HURLEY
History will be made Monday night.
The Greene County Rams volleyball team, fresh off its streak-snapping sweep against South Hamilton Oct. 12, is set to host Southeast Valley in the opening round of Class 3A regional play.
The matchup sets in motion a significant moment in Rams history, as this particular group of athletes becomes the first varsity squad to take the floor for postseason game in the new high school gym.
Take a second to let that one sink in.
For years, likely even decades, Greene County’s athletics programs have suffered the consequences of being a 3A-level school housed in a 2A-sized gym. For more than 50 years, Rams from Jefferson High, Jefferson-Scranton and Greene County were forced to play home games within the vintage walls of the middle school. While there was nothing alarmingly wrong with their five-decade old digs - the court was in solid shape, lighting was OK and the acoustics worked - the seating arrangements were never spacious enough to host postseason contests, which featured the likes basketball games, wrestling matches and volleyball contests. As the curtain raised on the new Greene County High School, which opened in September of this fall, it featured a state-of-the-art gymnasium, large enough to host regular tournaments, and of course, high-level postseason competitions.
The Ram volleyball team (6-15) welcomes Southeast Valley to town at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19 in the first round of Class 2A, Region 2 play.
The Jaguars defeated the Rams, in straight sets back on Oct. 1 in just the second game of the new era. The narrow, 2-0 loss, which was much closer than the final set score read (25-22 and 25-18), kick-started Greene County’s most recent losing streak. The Jaguars are 8-14 overall and finished just 2-8 in Twin Lakes Conference play. They had one game remaining as of publication, a non-conference matchup at Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire Thursday evening. SEV ranked fifth in the TLC in total kills with 523 while they were third in blocks with 55, which ranked them 14th in all of 3A. The Jaguars were also fifth in the TLC in aces (136) and assists (483).
Though their record doesn’t necessarily show it, Southeast Valley boasts an incredible amount of potential. Senior Kiersten Fisher is one of the most imposing figures in the entire state well on her way to securing all-state honors after securing 364 kills in 22 games, the top mark in the TLC and the second-most in all of Class 3A. Fisher also connected on a state-leading 57 aces in addition to her 58 blocks, which were the third-most in the TLC, tying her for the 11th-best mark in Iowa.
Greene County enters the 2020 postseason on a relative high note after snapping a five-game losing streak in their straight sets win over South Hamilton Monday. The Rams picked up their first Heart of Iowa Conference win of the year, 3-0 thanks to consecutive wins of 25-19, 25-22, capped off by a dominating third set victory, 25-13. The Rams were led by seniors Brianna Osterson and Lily Muir, who both contributed 12 kills apiece, securing 24 of Greene County’s 29 kills. Natalie Heupel contributed a team-best 20 assists while Muir contributed four blocks, part of Greene County’s 11 total blocks. Osterson, as of Monday, Oct. 12, was second in the Heart of Iowa Conference with 179 kills while Muir was ninth with 111 kills. Nevada’s Sydney Mosinski continues her wire-to-wire lead by securing a conference-best 220 kills. Heupel is fourth with 238 kills while Osterson is tied for sixth with 29 aces. Muir has recorded a team-best 111 digs, which ranks her 14th in the HOIC. Twelfth-Ranked Roland-Story held a half game lead over Nevada in the conference standings entering Thursday night’s matches at a perfect 5-0 while Greene County was alone in sixth-place at 1-4.
The winner of Monday night’s postseason opener is set to take on the victor f 11th-ranked Humboldt (29-2) and Algona (5-13) in the regional semifinals Wednesday, Oct. 21 in Humboldt. Humboldt has lost two of their last three after opening the year with a 28-game winning streak, though the Wildcats’ most recent last was to 2019 state champion Osage. Humboldt is unbeatable at home, sporting a 23-0 record on their home floor. The region 2 championship will be held Tuesday, Oct. 27 at a yet-to-be-determined location.
The 2020 volleyball state tournament is set for Nov. 2-5 in Cedar Rapids.