Vikings go the distance with Eagles on Senior Night
Tuesday night, in set five of their volleyball match, AHSTW Senior Lauren Yates knocked a shot over the net that effectively secured the victory 15-13 and won their 7th match of the season beating the Underwood Eagles.
“It was so important for us to show ourselves we can finish those types of games,” said Viking Head Coach Kelsey Muxfeldt. “We have had so many five set or three set games where we can't seem to finish. Last night, we proved to ourselves that we are mentally tough enough to battle through the 5th set and come out on top.”
The Vikings got off to a strong start taking set one 25-18 with assists from Freshman Kendra Hansen and kills from Senior Delaney Goshorn.
Set two the Eagles came back to tie the match up at one win apiece winning 25-20, which included the final point of the set coming on Yates knocking the ball out of bounds after Freshman Viking Halle Goodman assisted the ball to her.
Set three opened with the Eagles going on a 5-2 run before Muxfeldt called a timeout. Following the timeout, the Vikings turned the tables on the Eagles going on a 13-0 run before the Eagles finally ended their run trailing 15-6. The Vikings won the third set 25-21.
“We’ve known that we can do it,” Goshorn said. “Our skill level is there and just being able to put it together tonight was really great.”
The Eagles proved that they were not going down without a fight as they had to claw their way back to win set four trailing 8-4 and 15-12, but ultimately won the set 25-21 with the final point deflecting off Junior Viking Grayson Gettler.
Before set five began, Muxfeldt pulled her team together for a quick meeting.
“The message was simple, ‘focus for the next 15 points, do the little things correctly and compete every point,’” she said.
A timeout was called when the Vikings had a 13-12 lead in set five. When play resumed, they managed to win the set 15-13.
“We’ve been trying and giving it our all, so to have this win tonight was amazing,” said Senior Saydi Paulsen. “We all worked our butts off and to just finally see it come together was amazing.”
Following the conclusion of the game, both teams gathered to honor AHSTW Sophomore Grace Pauley who was in a car accident a few weeks ago. The Vikings were handed a card by the Eagles in support of this difficult moment for the community.
“Grace is someone who touches every person she comes in contact with,” Muxfeldt said. “You can't walk past her without her greeting you with the biggest smile on her face. She is always talking. She provides every room, gym, space with a tremendous amount of energy. We have had so much support for our surrounding communities over the last week. It speaks volumes of the person Grace is and how many lives she has truly touched.”
The Vikings also had their senior night after the game where eight of them gathered together for their final season of high school volleyball.
“It means so much,” Goshorn said. “They are some of my best friends, so getting to play with them on senior night was a great experience.”
With this win, the Vikings move to 7-18 on the season. Their next opponent will be Western Iowa rival, the IKM-Manning Wolves who have lost eight consecutive matches and come in with a 2-11 record.
The Wolves are led by Ella Richards with 103 assists, Megan Williams with 81 kills and 16 blocks, and Grace Carroll with 138 digs.
“We need to keep our communication up and just work together,” Paulsen said. “Don’t try your hardest for yourself, try it for the team because that team wants to win.”