Editorial: Netting several trophies
Op-Ed · December 07, 2012

The West Branch High School varsity volleyball team raised the bar in 2012 by earning its first state tournament berth.
So, we were nothing short of impressed to see the Bears travel to Cedar Rapids — in a limousine, no less — to take the West Branch name to new places.

Head Coach Josh Lukavsky delivered the understated comment Sunday at the awards night ceremony, “We’ve had a very productive year.”

The team lost to the St. Albert Saintes out of Council Bluffs in the first round. It was a thrilling five-game match that came down to a two-point edge — the bare minimum — in the end. Numerous fans sat on the edge of their seats at the Ice Arena, while those who could not make it sat around their radios and laptops hanging on every serve, set, pass and spike.

“I never thought you could be miserable riding home in a limousine,” Lukavsky quipped. “But you can. That was the longest trip I’ve ever taken from Cedar Rapids.”

Hopefully, though, the Bears volleyball team understands the pride felt by this community. For when the football season ended, all of the enthusiasm for high school sports shifted solely to the volleyball team. The emotion was always there, as there is no shortage from fans of both sports. But it was the volleyball team alone which saw its players’ names written on storefront windows throughout the downtown.

Among the many honors for individual players, Heather Poula earned a spot on the Senior All-State game — only 32 of about 2,000 players get selected — and Paige Donohoe was listed as an alternate. Poula also was named Second Team All-State (though we’re still scratching our heads over how the four-year varsity player did not make First Team).

The Final Eight is an exclusive club, and West Branch got there for the first time. Lukavsky pointed out that this year’s team brought back some “good hardware” — trophies the Bears have never earned before. At Sunday’s award’s banquet, with the volleyball players on stage, he gestured to them.

“This group of girls (are responsible) for what you see in that trophy case,” he said. “They will be talked about for a lot of years.”

Well said.

And congratulations.

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