ANAMOSA — The glossy record is nice. The No. 2 ranking is cool.
But there’s some baggage that goes with that. You’ve got to learn how to carry it around.
“Just the expectations,” Dyersville Beckman volleyball coach Todd Troutman said Tuesday night, after his team swept Durant in a Class 2A regional final, 25-20, 25-11, 25-23. “It’s tough. It’s a lot easier being the hunter than the hunted.”
Beckman (43-3) will be one of eight hunters next week at the state tournament in Cedar Rapids. This is the first time since 2000-01 the Blazers are state bound in back-to-back years.
Beckman is the top seed and will face No. 11 Wilton — which upset No. 1 Grundy Center in the regional finals — in the first round at 2 p.m. next Wednesday.
These girls figure the toughest part is over now. They have qualified.
Just go out and play the rest of the way and see what happens.
“I feel like we’re going to be relaxed,” said Beckman’s Ellie Bildstein. “We’re just going to go out there and play our game.”
“This is amazing,” Troutman said. “I told the kids this is a program that should contend to go to state every year. That’s the goal, to get the program to that level. We’re working on it, we’re a work in progress. But I feel so good for this group of girls. Now they can relax. I think the pressure was getting to them a little bit. The nerves were there this week.”
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They seemed to be there in Game 1 here. A six-point run gave Beckman a 19-14 lead, but 12th-ranked Durant (26-9) went on a six-point run of its to nab a 20-19 lead.
Aunt Mo definitely was on the Wildcats side. But Beckman responded in kind with a six-point run of its own to close things out.
Another huge run made Game 2 a rout, as Beckman scored 11 points in a row at one point and 18 of the final 21. Deflated and mistake prone, Durant fell immediately behind in Game 3, clawed back to a 22-22 tie, only to watch Beckman get three of the final four points, including a Heather Boeckenstedt kill off of a block to end it.
She led the Blazers with nine kills. It was defense that was most crucial in this win, however: a plethora of digs and blocks
“Our defense was phenomenal,” Bildstein said. “Most of our play tonight was defense. We didn’t get to run as much offense as we would like, but we played amazing defense and that kept us in the game.”
“They are tough-minded girls, and it was good to see tonight because they needed a little bit of toughness,” Troutman said. “That was a heck of a team (Durant) we played.”
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