CEDAR RAPIDS — Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
That will always be the date that will go down as the day Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont made history by winning for the first time ever at the State Volleyball Tournament.
Yes, EBF did have to actually come out and beat fourth-ranked Council Bluffs-St. Albert on that particular day. If you asked EBF players and coaches who pulled off that first state victory, however, there’s another day that might be even more memorable.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013. The day EBF players were introduced to the newly-renovated U.S. Cellular Center during a state volleyball tournament.
For some Rockets, that day was more nerve-racking than Wednesday’s first match.
“Being in here for the first time made me a little bit nervous,” Alexander said. “I think I was more excited than nervous, though. I think after being in here made me ready to play.”
Sophomore hitter Karlie Taylor concurred. Tuesday’s walk-through to watch the opening day of play at state made it easy for the Rockets’ top hitter to literally drown out the surroundings of the tournament’s atmosphere heading into day two’s Class 2A state quarterfinal round action.
“It helped us a lot. It gave us a great indication of what it was going to be like during a match,” Taylor said. “The student sections are so loud, so I just figured that we’d get that the next day.”
“It was kind of intimidating at first because it’s a totally different atmosphere than a normal high school volleyball match,” junior setter Paige Shafer added. “I’m really glad we came in.”
That was exactly the way Gladys Genskow, who has been coaching EBF volleyball for the past 17 years, planned it as she prepared to bring just her second EBF volleyball team to state.