Spartan volleyball wins 10th-straight NICL West title

Grundy Center volleyball won its 10th-consecutive league title and 65th-straight league match on Tuesday against West Marshall. (Jake Ryder photo)

For the full story and a special look at Grundy Center's 10 seasons of NICL West dominance, see next week's (Oct. 18) Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 

 

GRUNDY CENTER – Lori Willis was there when Jennifer Simms, Jocilyn Onnen, Morgan Wical and Amanda Stefl paved the road.

 

Those were the four seniors for the 2009 NICL West-winning Grundy Center volleyball team, with Willis the assistant coach under Darwin Sents.

 

A few years passed, and the NICL West titles kept coming – or as Willis put it, the road became a highway.

 

Willis, now in her fourth season as the Spartans' head coach, made sure that four of this year's seniors got to enjoy their final trip down what is now a freeway of success in the NICL West.

 

Four-year varsity players Sydney Mathews, Brooke Flater, Kylie Willis and Hailey Wallis were all honored in Grundy Center on Tuesday night as the Spartans swept West Marshall for a 10th-consecutive NICL West title.

 

Grundy Center won its 65th-straight league game by scores of 25-16, 25-12, 25-17. The 2A No. 1 Spartans ended the regular season with a 38-3 overall record and will be off until postseason play begins on Monday, Oct. 22.

 

In the third set, Lori Willis made sure to sub out the seniors one-by-one as they received individual ovations from the Spartan fans in attendance. Carsen Hamann did not play Tuesday but was recognized in Senior Night proceedings before the game.

 

"This group is very special," Willis said. "I've been coaching two of them since third grade, the rest of them since fourth grade. … I know them inside out, I know their passions, their drives, their strengths, their weaknesses. It's one of the things I love about coaching is building those relationships and knowing those are going to last well past graduation."

 

Kylie Willis finished with 11 kills on Tuesday night with nine digs, four blocks and was 18-of-19 serving with three aces. Hailey Wallis had 10 kills, six digs, three blocks and went 9-of-9 serving. Brooke Flater had six kills and Sydney Mathews had four digs with 15-of-15 serving and an ace.

 

Ten years can feel like forever for a group of seniors that have immersed themselves in countless hours, days, weeks, months and years of volleyball.

 

"I remember coming to volleyball games when I was younger and looking up to the girls playing every Tuesday night and wanting to be like them," Flater said.

 

Kylie Willis added, "It's crazy how fast times flies. ... I've enjoyed every moment of being a Spartan. The teammates, coaches and community members, it's all one of a kind."

 

For the full story and a special look at Grundy Center's 10 seasons of NICL West dominance, see next week's (Oct. 18) Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 

 

View photos and order prints from Tuesday's game