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Iowa State Volleyball Class 2A Western Christian vs. Sidney

Western Christian's Macay Van't Hul tips the ball over the net against Sidney in Class 2A semifinal-round state volleyball action in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

There are plenty of important role players that the Western Christian High School volleyball team has on its roster, but Wolfpack coach Tammi Veerbeek pointed out the performance of senior Macay Van’t Hul from last weekend.

Van’t Hul recorded 43 kills, 12 blocks and had a hitting percentage of .365 to lead the Wolfpack to the Sioux County Tournament championship that included some difficult teams.

The Wolfpack played six matches in Sioux Center, and Western Christian won all six. Its last two wins were against MOC-Floyd Valley and Boyden-Hull, both in two-set victories.

“(Macay) took over the net, and that’s a big reason why I feel we went 6-0,” Veerbeek said.

The Wolfpack played in just one three-set match, and that was a win over Sioux Falls Christian.

Van’t Hul earned several touches this weekend, which led her to having such a successful tournament.

“Going into it, there was a lot of pride,” Van’t Hul said. “All the teams were just really good. We knew we were going to have to play really well.”

On the season, Van’t Hul has 33 blocks, which leads the top-ranked Class 2A Wolfpack. Those 33 blocks are good for 10th in Class 2A.

Van’t Hul doesn’t play in the back row for the Wolfpack. She isn’t in as many rotations in the 5-1 offense that Veerbeek instructs her team to play, but when she’s out there, Veerbeek also challenges Van’t Hul to build as big a lead as she can.

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“When you’re in those three rotations, you have to be a difference-maker,” Veerbeek said. “We want her to come out of the game with a lead.”

The Wolfpack had two weeks before Saturday’s tournament to prep, which gave Van’t Hul time to work on her blocking after the Bellevue West tournament, where the Wolfpack went 2-3 that weekend against some of the top competition in Nebraska.

Van’t Hul left the Bellevue West gymnasium knowing she needed to improve her blocking and to read the setter better, and Veerbeek credited the Wolfpack senior -- she’s one of seven -- for identifying her weakness.

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“Those setters were high level,” Veerbeek said. “We sat down (as a team) and wondered what we needed to work on. When we challenge her, she responds well.”

For example, Veerbeek asked Van’t Hul to make the opposing middle hitter move, she’ll run a slide over the next three plays.

More specifically, Van’t Hul wanted to work on cutting around the opposing blockers.

“I work on staying behind the ball, and see the blocker and find the open spots,” Van’t Hul said.

Van’t Hul spent most of the two weeks working on those skills and even improve her hitting, and while most would think having two straight weeks of practice would get monotonous, Van’t Hul disagreed.

She enjoyed having that extended period of time to really hone in on fine-tuning her skills. It also helped that the Wolfpack took a day off each week to rest their bodies, and the team went on a bonding trip to go watch the Northwestern and Dordt play each other last week.

‘I thought it was helpful having a lot of practice,” Van’t Hul said.

The Wolfpack, however, won’t have as much time off heading into their next match. Western Christian returns to the court Thursday at home against Spirit Lake.

Honorable mention

Cooper Dejean, OABCIG: The Falcons senior attained 249 total yards and five touchdowns in a 64-19 win over Cherokee on Friday.

Sara Maule, West Monona: Maule is also in the top-10 in Class 2A in blocks, as she has a total of 35. West Monona went 4-1 at its home tournament.

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