The Menomonee Falls girls volleyball team entered Tuesday night's pivotal Greater Metro dual meet with archrival DSHA ranked second in the state.
"But that was just because of our name," said Indian coach J.C. Bruns, noting the flat third-place effort in the Watertown Invite the Indians were coming off on Saturday. "We were floundering, just not playing well ever since the Joust (the season opening tournament)."
"I was thinking about my pre-game speech though and I walked into the small gym (where the team was gathered) and they just started screaming. They were ready. I didn't need to say anything, so I just walked out."
"They were as up for any match as I had seen them. We needed this match, not so much for conference implications, but more than anything else, we needed a signature win, something we could hang our hats on."
"....We were just looking for a complete match and DS just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Indeed, as behind an air-tight defense and a relentless attack led by sophomore outside hitter Simone Lee, the Indians remained unbeaten in GMC play and took major steps towards their ninth league title this century with an emphatic 25-15, 25-17, 25-21 victory over the ninth-ranked in state Dashers.
"We had just watched our end of the banquet video (from 2010) and it got us excited, because it reminded us of how good last season was," Lee said. "Coach (Bruns) wanted us to get excited every point, every moment, and we were."
"Everyone was in rhythm tonight."
That appeared to be the case right from the start, as the youthful Indians, still adjusting to new players in critical positions such as setter and defensive specialist, looked calm and in unison almost all evening.
The ball rarely hit the floor as players big and small made digs, set passes and did the little things. Falls raced out to an 11-4 lead in the first game and cruised home.
In the second set, things didn't quite go so smoothly as the Dashers grabbed a 13-11 lead behind a strong block. But then, behind Lee's explosive outside diagonal attack, the Indians went on an 8-1 run to go up 19-14. Lee got five of the eight points including a deft tip that was the final point of the push.
Falls closed out that game with a 5-1 run.
"The second game was one of the best ever," said Lee "We needed to find something and we did. It was such a good way to win a game. Everybody is taking turns leading. Everybody wants to step up when they're called upon."
The third game was similar, as the Dashers went up 14-12 and again Falls went on an 8-0 run to take the lead for good at 20-14. Lee had three kills, one tip and one block in the run. DSHA never got within three after that.
Bruns couldn't say enough about the defense, noting that the backrow play was "flawless" and that sophomore middle blocker Katherine Von Bank and sophomore rightside hitter Abby Becker also had huge games offensively.
'It's pretty simple for us," said Bruns. "We get the ball to our bigs, we can be successful."
With wins over top league rivals DSHA and Brookfield Central behind them, the Indians have cleared some major impediments towards another conference crown, though there is still much work to do said Bruns.
"It's still a big load off our shoulders," said Lee.
The Indians will look to carry these good feelings on their shoulders all the way into this weekend's powerhouse West Bend Sprawl, which will bring almost every team of quality in the area together for an early season mash-up of talent and will.
"There are 24 teams there and I think any one of about 20 could win it," said Bruns. "That's how up for grabs things are this year, so to go into it with this kind of momentum is just kind of special."
Falls is the second overall seed in the tournament.
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