Peter Johnson, Sidney High School - Class of 2010
When people ask where I’m from, I tell them proudly Sidney, Iowa, and I usually get one of two responses: “Where’s that?” or “Oh! You have the rodeo, right?” This year however, I got a different response. “You guys have that good volleyball team.”
Since I have moved back to Sidney after graduating from the University of Iowa, I have had the chance to attend many of Sidney’s volleyball games. Of course they looked really good at the beginning of the season. The wins started piling up and it became apparent that there was something special about this team. I have seen good teams, and many good athletes, but Sidney’s volleyball team was particularly remarkable, success aside, this team was fun to watch.
I began to pay more attention to the games. Not only their play, their individual performances, their rotations or strategy, but HOW they played the game. The girls played with a lot of poise, tenacity, and carried themselves in a way that made the game enjoyable. They always picked each other up, cheering each other on, and never giving up, whether they were up by eight or down by eight.
This team loved playing the game, and that love for the game translated into wins. It is love for the game that inspires young athletes to work hard in the off season and play club volleyball. It is love for the game that creates the team chemistry so vital to this team’s success. It is the love for the game that made this team so enjoyable for the community to follow. From Mackenzie Daffer being the team quarterback, leading vocally, to Lexy Larsen’s business-like approach, every member of this team complemented to other on the floor.
People said they were too small. People said they could not match up with teams at state. People said their schedule was too easy, that they played in a weak conference. People said the moment at state would be too big for the Cowgirls from Sidney, Iowa to handle. And with every point, the Cowgirls not only convinced the naysayers that they not only belonged at state, but that they were playing to win. They made believers out of the skeptics, and picked up a lot of fans along the way.
The unprecedented success of this Cowgirl team is just the beginning. The Cowgirls are just the tip of the iceberg that is the recent renaissance of Corner Conference volleyball. The road to the state finals was not a cakewalk, and the success of Sidney shows just how tough and good Fremont-Mills, East Mills, and Stanton are. Sidney may have been the first Corner Conference team to make the finals at the state tournament, but it will not be the last. Sidney’s performance opens the door for the other programs, demonstrating that this conference has several teams that can play with anyone in the state.
The way this Sidney team excited the school and community is like nothing I have ever seen. I have never been prouder to be from Sidney, Iowa and have graduated from Sidney High School. These girls looked at the expectation, surpassed them with a smile on their face and a celebration after every point along the way.
And the way that other conference schools play volleyball, I do not think Sidney will be the last or only community to experience this and when we, the people from the Corner Conference tell people what town we are from, we better get used to the response, “They have some good teams down there in southwest Iowa.”