The miraculous turnaround that was the 2014 Falls City High School volleyball season will go down as the most successful in school history, with the school-record 22 victories nearly equaling the Lady Tigers’ win total from the past six years combined (26).
The 2014 team came oh-so-close to making more history, too, as FC Friday night had two chances to win just one more set and advance to the state volleyball tournament for the first time in FCHS history. Leading Ashland-Greenwood 2-1 in the Class C1-1 District Final (after taking the first 25-15 and third 28-26) at Nebraska City High, the Lady Tigers lost set four 19-25 to force a dramatic winner-take-all fifth. The Bluejays quickly took a 12-6 lead and eventually won the set 15-10 to advance to state for the fourth time since 2003. The Tigers committed 14 hitting errors in the final two sets, allowing Ashland-Greenwood, which improved to 13-17 on the season, to first get back in the match and ultimately advance.
Falls City, meanwhile, was left to ponder what could’ve been, while at the same time celebrate the program’s greatest fall of all-time.
“Our girls were willing to put the time and effort in the offseason, and it paid off. I’m proud of them,” Falls City Coach Julie Frederick said. “Our first goal this season was to break the school record for wins, which we did, and our second goal was to get to state.”
The Tigers won the opening set easily and held a set point in the second at 27-26. FC then fought through a pair of Ashland set points in the third and captured it on back-to-back Ashland hitting errors.
“Falls City is a very good defensive team, and I told our team that if you want to win this match, you can’t make errors,” Ashland-Greenwood coach Megan Rossell said. “It took them a little bit to settle in, but they did well. I could tell they were nervous at the start.”
FCHS sophomore Alyssa Frederick led with 11 kills, while senior outside hitter Maygan Ramsey added nine and senior middle hitter Jerrica Beckner contributed seven to go with four ace blocks. Senior setter Baylee Vrtiska had 32 assists along with four kills and four ace serves.
Ashland-Greenwood (kills-ace blocks-ace serves)–K. Marr 2-0-1, Washburn 3-0-0, Pollard 0-0-0, Carroll 13-0-3, M. Marr 16-0-1, Thomas 4-2-0, Klaudt 6-2-0, Craven 13-0-0. Totals 57-4-5.
Falls City (kills-ace blocks-ace serves)–Vrtiska 4-0-4, Duerfeldt 5-0-1, Frederick 11-1-1, Ramsey 9-0-2, Bauman 4-7-0, Beckner 7-4-0, Campbell 0-0-0, O’Brien 0-0-0. Totals 40-12-8.
Assists–Ashland-Greenwood 56 (K. Marr 54, Washburn 1, M. Marr 1), Falls City 36 (Vrtiska 33, Duerfeldt 2, Beckner 1).