Sheldon has the top ranked volleyball team in Class 3A this week. The Orabs are perfect so far but that doesn't have much to do with their ultimate goal this season.
For Our Sports Fource Champions, success did not come suddenly. Off-season workouts, weightlifting sessions and club volleyball in the summer have slowly and steadily built Sheldon into a powerhouse. The hard work makes everything look easy.
"We just want everybody to be able to read each other," said senior Allie Jongewaard. "What we're going to do on free balls, what we're going to do on system attack. We want to be prepared for every situation. We practice everything that could possibly happen."
The Orabs are a veteran team, with nine seniors -- three of those seniors are captains. The never take a night off. Sheldon is 17-0 and have won 37 of their 40 sets.
"I think we really have to focus on one game at a time and not look too far ahead in the future," said senior Jessica Van Beek. "Always have that big goal but take one game at a time, every point and do the best that we can for every game."
"We just play with a lot of heart and we have really good team chemistry," said senior Marti Vogel. "We've been playing together for a long time and it's finally our year when everybody is on the varsity level together so that's a big part of it."
Sheldon was the state runner-up in 2009 and went to state again in 2011, only to lose in the first round and finish 36-4. The Orabs don't shy away from the fact that this year's goals are bigger.
"We're obviously looking forward to the end of the season," said Sheldon head coach Eric Maassen. "We said on the first day of practice, our goal was to win the 3A state championship and our goals haven't changed. I think the girls all got chills when we talked about that the first day but those are our goals."
"We have to go after every team," added Jongewaard. "Thinking that everyone's going to bring their best game to us, we just have to bring our game to the next level and keep pushing."
"Our team is a team of momentum," said Vogel. "So when we have the energy on our side, it usually goes our way."
Sheldon will visit fourth-ranked MOC-Floyd Valley on Thursday. The Dutch are the defending state champions.
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