The Mustangs’ season started out rough, but in the end, they really pulled through and achieved their dream by winning a volleyball state title.
“It felt like a dream, moving from Solon that was my goal to win a state title, and I’m just so happy that we accomplished it,” said junior Lauren Schrock.
At the quarter-finals game, the Mustangs played against West Liberty, they won with five sets. The next day was the semi-finals, the game was a close one again taking five sets. On the day of the state championship game, the girls got pumped up in the locker room like they always do by listening to music. When it was finally time to play the state championship game the girls were ready. “We scouted the teams so we had a pretty good idea of who their best players were, “ said senior Summer Brand.
“Coach Willems did a good job of preparing us on what the other teams were going to do on the other side of the net so that it wasn’t a surprise when we got there.” The Mustangs won their third and final set 25-15. “After we got that first set underway we were comfortable, we weren’t nervous, and we kind of just realized we could do it, and we did,” said Brand.
“The truth is I never lost confidence in them, I just had to keep helping them play how I knew they were capable of,” said coach Maggie Willems. Willems was diagnosed with cancer back in 2018 and today she is in remission. She beat cancer and she knew her players could beat their competitors as well. “I decided we’re doing this, the narrative for me was we are winning that state title in 2019 and I’m going to do whatever it takes to help our players do that.”
It was the first time some of the volleyball players got to experience playing at state, Schrock being one of them. “It’s a completely different feeling than playing games inside a high school gym but it also felt the same because I was playing with the team I was playing with all season, ” said Schrock. “It’s a really great team, and I love how everyone works so well together.”
The community of Mount Vernon came together for the volleyball team’s amazing accomplishment at the U.S. Cellular Center and then for a reception after the finals in the commons. “Winning state still doesn’t feel real, it was so exciting for the team because we got to do it all together, “ said Brand.