CEDAR RAPIDS — Dallas Center-Grimes finds itself in unchartered territory.
The Fillies had never won a match in two previous state volleyball appearances. According to officials, they hadn’t even taken a set.
In its first trip in nine seasons and third overall, third-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes advanced to the semifinals for the first time, beating No. 6 Bondurant-Farrar, 25-20, 25-8, 25-21, in the Class 4A state quarterfinals Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Center.
“It’s a pretty special feeling,” Fillies senior middle hitter Tiffany Denger said. “We’ve wanted this since last year, so the fact that we made it further and we’re still moving forward is an awesome feeling.”
Junior Katelyn Knudsen recorded a match-best 12 kills for Dallas Center-Grimes (36-4). She wasn’t aware of the accomplishment until it was shared with her.
“It is so special to know that not only did we make it to state this year when we’ve been so close these past few years but we’re in the history books. To be able to look back on that in future years will be amazing.”
The victory is a product of hard work. The scouting reports, preparation and all those times everyone attended optional open gyms have paid dividends.
“We’re all dedicated,” Denger said. “We just want to keep playing. We don’t want to be done.”
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The Fillies never trailed in the first two sets, winning seven out of eight points to pull away and take a 25-8 lead in the opener. They blitzed the Lady Jays in the second, scoring the first five points and building a 19-4 advantage.
“We’ve always talked about starting quick,” Denger said. “The fact that we started that quick and kept going was awesome.”
Bondurant-Farrar (34-3) battled in the third thanks to kills from Lexi Bedler and Kate Tidman. Dallas Center-Grimes scored the final two points, getting a kill from Knudsen and block from Denger. Bedler finished with nine kills and Grace Hintze pitched in eight and a block.
Denger added eight blocks. Kamryn O’Brien added 21 assists and Dakota Miles contributed 19 digs for the Fillies.
“The girls played real focused,” Fillies Coach Cheryl Voelker said. “They had a goal. They set that goal and reached it. Good communication out there and played together as a team. They did a good job.”
Dallas Center-Grimes will take on second-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier for a berth to the finals.
“We’re just going to focus on what we do best,” said Voelker, noting they will breakdown some Saints film. “I think we’ll just stick with our game plan.”
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