A tradition unlike any other: D-NH secures 12th consecutive state tournament berth (with photo slideshow)

Members of the Dike-New Hartford volleyball team erupt in celebration after defeating Hudson in a regional final on Tuesday night. The Wolverines have won state titles six of the last seven seasons and will make their 12th straight appearance at state. (Robert Maharry/The Grundy Register photo) 

The last time the Dike-New Hartford volleyball team missed the state tournament, most of its current star players were kindergarteners. Some have older sisters with state championships to their names, and everyone who wears the Wolverine uniform is aware of the tradition of excellence the program carries.

           

“It just creates excitement down at the younger levels, and they want to be volleyball players. They’re looking up to (the varsity players), see how much fun that they’re having and have that goal for themselves when they get to high school,” D-NH Head Coach Diane Harms said.

           

Last Tuesday night was business as usual: sixth-ranked D-NH stayed calm and dispatched 13th-ranked Hudson in straight sets, 25-11, 25-23, 25-22 in a regional final at Parkersburg to wrap up a berth in the Class 2A tournament set to begin next week. The Wolverines, who have won state titles six of the last seven seasons (including 2016 and 2017) competing in both 2A and 3A, will suit up at the U.S. Cellular Center for the 12th consecutive year.

           

“(Getting to state) is very important… It’s one of our main goals from the very beginning,” senior Sydney Lage said.

           

D-NH (35-12) had everything going early. By the first Pirate timeout, the Wolverines led 10-3, and all of Amber Rickert and Morgan Weber’s spikes were landing en route to a 23-9 advantage. Weber scored on a soft kill to make it 24-11, and freshman Taylor Hoehns finished it off with a tip to secure the easy win.

           

Much of the second set followed the same trajectory: D-NH turned a 5-5 tie into a 14-7 lead, and a Jenna Joslin ace made the score 18-9. Trailing 23-13 after a Rickert spike, however, the Pirates (31-7) found a jolt and stormed back, scoring nine consecutive points and threatening to knot up the match. An errant kill attempt, a block that went out of bounds and a Joslin spike saved the set for the Wolverines and put them in the driver’s seat to finish the job.

           

“I think we got a little overaggressive and a little tentative. We weren’t quite executing,” Harms said. “We needed to just settle down, play within ourselves and find a way to side out and get the ball back.”

 

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Look for the full story and full coverage of Dike-New Hartford's state tournament run in next week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here.