Saturday, December 20, 2014
   
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One for the record book

2012 was best-ever for Swede volleyball

The Swedes rewrote the record book for Gothenburg volleyball this fall, recording the most wins in school history as well as marking 36 new spots in the all-time Top 10 with four school records.

“We were fortunate to have really good chemistry this year,” said coach Mary Clark. “There has to be that connection with volleyball.”

There also has to be a positive, winning attitude.

“It didn’t just happen overnight,” Clark said. “We had to work on taking the court expecting to win every game and we reinforced all the time that the girls had to focus on their game and do what they could do on their side of the net.”

Although each varsity player improved her physical play with every practice and every game, Clark said the real progress came in the critical mental aspects of the game.

“There are no second chances in volleyball,” the coach said. “You don’t get to rebound and shoot again. You only get one try. And all parts of the team have to do their job every time or things just don’t work.”

Things worked for the Swedes this season better than ever, resulting in the school’s best volleyball record at 23-7.

A big chunk of those wins came with a mid-season streak that stretched to 15 straight.

“We never talked much about that winning streak but the girls knew it was there,” Clark said.

In the midst of that string of wins came invite championships in the Hershey, Gothenburg and Broken Bow tournaments.

“Those were huge confidence boosters for us,” Clark said. “It just kept the girls increasing their goals, putting pressure on themselves to continue to improve.”

At one point, the Swedes even made their first-ever appearance in the state rankings by the Omaha World-Herald at No. 7.

“I’m just really proud of all of these girls,” Clark said. “The seniors, especially, brought so much passion and love for the game and that showed in the enthusiasm on the court.”

Four seniors will graduate, led by all-around player Jacey Wiggins.

Wiggins earned 10 new spots in the school’s all-time Top 10, including No. 1 positions in serves made and set assists .

“Jacey is such a versatile player,” Clark said. “She is a solid setter and has such a powerful left hand. It’s been fun to see how far she has come as a four-year starter.”

Teammate Maddy Costello was the vocal leader on the court, Clark said, always helping others see where the open spot was.

Costello squeezed into the Top 10 at No. 10 in digs with 213.

And while Tylyn Haynes and Kenzi Hiebner weren’t starters and were never certain how much time they would spend on the court, they were excellent role models of teamwork.”

“I’d put those girls in during pressure situations and they always stepped up,” the coach said. “They showed every day what being a team really means.”

As for next year, Clark said plans have already begun for the 2013 team that will see Top 10 players return.

Juniors Regan Geiken, Aryn Meisinger and Taylor Mroczek will be back with sophomore Tiani Reeves as the core of the Swedes to come.

“It should be fun to see what they bring next season,” Clark said.

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