Well, Elkhorn Valley, you did it.
You got hot at the right time. You locked up a spot at state. You proved me right and wrong at the same time.
The Falcons proved me right and wrong becasue I admittedly began to doubt them as the year dragged on. I didn’t doubt the talent. I didn’t doubt the coaching. Honestly, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I doubted. They just seemed to fall when I expected them to rise. I guess I just doubted my ability to predict them.
That wasn’t always the case. If you recall, I said multiple times in my preseason previews that I expected them to lock up a spot at state this year. As a matter of fact, I was pretty adamant that they would be going down there with Elgin Public/Pope John. With what they returned in production from last year, it seemed inevitable.
However, games aren’t played on paper and when the season hit, it didn’t go as smooth as I expected. The Falcons sat an 8-8 over midway through the season. They finished the year on an 6-3 run, but it wasn’t quite as dominant as I expected it should have been.
Then subdistricts hit. The Falcons eased past Osmond and Randolph in a way that looked more like I expected it to.
However, I’ll admit, with the way the season had gone, I didn’t know if they could get it done against a Wolfpack squad that sat fourth in the wildcard standings and looked primed for a return trip to Lincoln.
I wasn’t able to make it the game myself. It was an exciting one from all accounts, despite just being three sets. I fortunately had my lovely wife there to text me updates. When I stepped out of meeting to read them all, I was pretty stunned.
“EV up 2-0.” “10-6 in 3rd set, EV up.” “EV wins.”
I was stunned for a variety of reasons. I was stunned that the game only went three sets. I expected all five. I was stunned the Falcons finished it so fast. I was stunned the Falcons turned it around at the absolute perfect moment to make themselves everyone’s favorite story in Lincoln.
Congratulations girls. See you Thursday.
If you ask me on any given day what my favorite sport is, the answer will likely be football. However, at this time of year, there is nothing more exciting to cover than a volleyball match.
It helps that volleyball is played indoors. Honestly, I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to cold weather. I enjoy the warmth of the gym compared to the bitter cold of the wind on an open football field.
More importantly, however, these games really start to matter. It seems like every game from the start of the conference tournaments on are just a bit more exciting than usual.
A good volleyball match will have everyone jumping out of their seats throughout. However, a great volleyball match, like the one between Elgin Public/Pope John and Ewing in O’Neill last Friday, will keep you on your feet.
Once it gets towards the end of the season like this, everyone is just a bit more intense and focused on the court. The seniors especially seem to step it up and get a bit more passionate about every point and every mistake. They know they are closing in on their last chance to compete like this with their volleyball family.
Often, the district tournaments are full of surprises. That is because at this point it is really just a game of emotion. Teams that have struggled throughout the season just seem to pull out a game or two that isn’t expected, playing spoiler on some poor team’s state tournament hopes. That is because those lower seeds are tired of being beat. They are tired of being overlooked. And they simply are not ready to call it a season.
This time of year, the games get longer. The spikes get harder. The defense is more focused. The coaches even seem to yell a bit louder.
Everyone knows what is on the line. I love it.
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