Iowa volleyball: Pride, togetherness propels Harris-Lake Park
LAKE PARK — For three volleyball seniors at Harris-Lake Park, varsity volleyball action has been a way of life for the past four years.
Seniors Miranda Brueggeman and Noreen Morrow have had balls set to them for all that time from setter Macy Gunderson.
They’re quite the trio, Wolves coach Daryl Meyer said.
The Wolves (31-10) have their other four seniors, as well as a couple of underclassmen, helping in the effort. It makes for a solid group. The Wolves have their 10 losses, but just one came to a Class 1A school. That was a loss to Central Lyon, 2-1, earlier this season in a tournament.
The remaining four seniors on the team include Megan Garms, Bailey Heikens, Grace Winters and Sarah Kruger.
“If you’d talk to those three (four-year starters) they would tell you they’re like sisters,” Meyer said. “They’re in all of their classes together and they’re a great mesh of kids.
“Our younger kids mesh in really well. It’s not just our seniors and then everybody else,” he added. “Our seniors have led us in a really good direction all year long.”
Morrow, at 6-foot-2, has been a crafty offensive weapon for her team in the front row. Her kills land in all sorts of places to give opposing teams fits. She has 477 on the year, a mark tied for second in Class 1A.
Brueggeman far and away leads the Wolves with 61 service aces while Gunderson has set up an offense that boasts four players with greater than 100 kills on the year.
Gunderson reached the milestone of 2,000 career set assists this season and is tied for fourth place in Class 1A with 766 assists this fall.
All in all, each of the three girls give the others credit for their successes. The selflessness trickles down throughout the team and provides a drive as the whole family knows they can do something greater together with each step the postseason brings.
“I owe all of it back to Macy and Miranda,” Morrow said this week. “I yell at Macy about random things, but she knows what I want and sets it. Miranda always has a great pass up to Macy. It all works together.”
In his 16th season as volleyball coach at H-LP, Meyer has steadily built a strong contender. The Wolves have three conference titles out of the last decade. They secured back-to-back titles with this season’s clean sweep through the league.
The next step for the Wolves will be to make it to state. H-LP has yet to put a state qualifying volleyball banner up on its gymnasium wall.
“Having seven seniors has been really nice,” Brueggeman said. “We’ve always said since we were younger that it is our dream to go to state. We have a chance to make our dreams come true.”
If the dream comes true, it will come through a win over Central Lyon tonight at George in the 1A Region 1 final.
The fourth-ranked Lions come into the match off a regional semifinal sweep over Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn. Set scores were 25-12, 25-13, 25-15.
The Iowa state volleyball tournament runs from Nov. 12-15 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
“This would be really huge for the team,” Gunderson said. “I love each and every one of these girls.”