If hard work and determination were marketable, the West Liberty High School volleyball team might have a gold mine.
The Comets finished their 2020 campaign with a 26-7 overall record, including taking top honors with an upset win over neighboring rival Wilton to win the River Valley Conference Tournament. The girls, coached by Rueben Galvan, ended their season just one game away from a return trip to the Iowa Class 3A state finals, losing to Davenport Assumption in three straight games, including a pair by just two points each.
Assumption, ranked #4 in the state, went on to finish in the top four after beating Unity Christian in four games before losing to top-ranked Osage in four games despite winning the opening game, 25-23, and losing the next two by just two points each.
Osage won the tourney by defeating Mount Vernon in three straight games after Mt. Vernon defeated second ranked Clarin-Goldfield-Dons in three games after defeating Union in four games in the opening round.
Galvan described the Assumption Knights as a “good program with some very talented players” as well as being “very well coached.” Unfortunately, Galvan was not able to be with this team for that game as he was in quarantine, noting he wasn’t sure if it would have made a difference in the outcome.
The coaching team that includes Brittany Boffeli and Andrea Martinez, said they were proud of the players and families involved in the Comet program. “It has been a key to our long-term success that our program has always experienced,” said Galvan.
The team, which opened their season with a 17-game unbeaten streak before losing in a conference rivalry bout with Wilton, a top ranked team in Class 2A, in early October, faced some of the toughest competition in the state in October, accounting for six of those losses as they prepared for the state final run.
“Our philosophy is always to compete against the best teams in the state,” Galvan said, noting the Comets always seem to manage to be among the top 10 programs in the state. “Our players and program strive for competitive competition, so by entering larger tournaments it gives us opportunities to face teams that are competitive and outside our conference.”
The coach said the Comets were “very competitive” and, like any year, “each season brings new challenges, personal and team goals,” noting the present Comet core has shattered some school records including Martha Pace and Macy Daufeldt setting personal milestones by reaching 1,000 kills for their high school career while Monica Morales hit 500 digs.
“Our program improves each year and we are always excited to have the athletes who put in the time and dedication,” Galvan said.
He said there were some big wins throughout the season, but noted there was one that stood out. “The biggest win, in my opinion this season, was not having to quarantine the entire team by taking extra precautions to keep us safe,” Galvan said.
“Throughout the season we didn't have a signature victory to give us a better seeding when it came to regional pairings.”
The coach said the team will be losing a lot of talent in four seniors including Martha Pace, Isabel Morrison, Averi Goodale and Emily Bierman, but have a core of girls that will continue to improve in the off-season.
“With the strength of our schedule, our players are always wanting to prepare the best they can during the off season,” the coach said. “This would include continuing to pla
y off season through club volleyball, camps and clinics, weight and conditioning training, and being involved in other sports.”
Those figuring to return to the West Liberty line-up next season include current juniors Macy Dahfeldt and Mylei Henderson as well as sophomores Monica Morales, Brooklyn Buysse, Rylee Goodale and McKenzie Akers as well as freshman Rilee Ham.
Buysse led the team in assists this season with 785 while also having the best performance from the serving line with 360 successful serves out of 380 attempts, including leading the team in aces with 42.
Macy Daufeldt led the team in kills with 360 of a team-leading 680 attempts while having 19 blocks including 18 solos. Daufeldt led the team in kill percentage at .388.
Martha Pace wasn’t far behind the leader, collecting 287 kills in 508 attempts for a .339 percentage while she also had 16 blocks including 15 solos while having 281 or her 301 serving attempts successful, including 41 aces.
Monica Morales led the Comets in digs with 387 to her credit, followed by Daufeldt with 259, Pace at 243, Buysse at 227 and Rylee Goodale at 177.
Morals also had 48 assists for West Liberty while Averi Goodale had 97 kills and Isabel Morrison finished with 76.
Rylee Goodale also had a great season from the serving line for the Comets, connecting on 243 of her 256 attempts, including 17 aces.