GRUNDY CENTER - It may be a little twin telepathy. It could be that they have played together since the fourth grade.
Whatever it is, seniors Heather Hook and Sam Meyers have formed quiet the dynamic duo on the volleyball court for the Grundy Center Spartans.
Both of them - along with fellow senior Riley Ackerman - will head to the Iowa State Volleyball Tournament later this week to find that elusive state title that has skipped past the Spartans the past two seasons.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
"If you ask, most people would say we have a twin telepathy," said Hook, who leads the Spartans in assists (869), blocks (65) and aces (66). "I just know where she is going to be, and she just knows where I am going to set it."
Hook has plenty of options when it comes to setting the ball this season, but Meyers remains the Spartans' go-to hitter when the tough get going. Meyers, who will play collegiately at Drake University, has a team-high 446 kills this season.
Hook credits Meyers for making her sets look good. Meyers thinks Hook makes her passes look better than they are. Both are leading the Spartans to another state tournament, and this time top-ranked Grundy Center (33-6) enters the tournament as the favorite.
Iowa High School State Volleyball Tournament
At Cedar Rapids Ice Arena
Stanton (34-2) vs. Janesville (31-8), 6 p.m.
Le Mars Gehlen Catholic (21-10) vs. Tripoli (35-5), 6 p.m.
Grandview Park Baptist (29-6) vs. Grundy Center (33-6), 7:30 p.m.
Marquette Catholic (29-5) vs. Holy Trinity Catholic (43-4), 7:30 p.m.
Stanton or Janesville vs. Grandview Park Baptist or Grundy Center, 7 p.m.
Le Mars Gehlen Catholic or Tripoli vs. Marquette Catholic or Holy Trinity Catholic, 7 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.
"They have been starting here since their freshman season," Grundy Center coach Darwin Sents said. "They are a big lift for a program, and they have given us tremendous stability. We just know what to expect when they step on the court."
Hook is not just a successful setter. She is third on the team in kills with 137 and fourth in digs with 187.
Meyers also does more than just hit the ball really hard. She is third on the team in aces with 46, is second in digs with 315 digs and second in blocks with 51.
They have been together every step of the way during their all-state careers. It's hard to mention one without saying the other.
Thursday starts another run at a state title, this time in Class 1A.
"This is my senior year, and us seniors want to go out with a bang," Meyers said. "We don't want to fall short again. We know what it's like to fall short. We don't like that feeling."
The Spartans reached the Class 2A semifinals in each of the last two seasons but couldn't get over the hump. In Sents' 13 seasons as Grundy Center head coach, the Spartans have reached state six times but have never played on championship Saturday.
"I am really competitive as are a lot of our girls," Hook said. "We want to win it this year. We want this one."
Ackerman has been playing with Meyers and Hook since the sixth grade and has been starting the past two seasons on the outside.
After missing part of the season with an illness, Ackerman is playing her best at the right time of the season, collecting 26 kills in the final two matches of the regional tournament. Like Hook and Meyers, she is tired of coming up short.
"We don't want to feel that feeling again," Ackerman said. "We want to know what it feels like to win."
While Ackerman's future in collegiate athletics remains undecided, both Meyers and Hook will move on to Division I schools. But the schools are different and they just happen to be in the same conference.
"It will be different and I am sure it will feel weird," said Hook, who will play at Northern Iowa and face off against rival Drake annually. "We are friends though first. It will be a rivalry, but it will be a friendly rivalry. Both of us are competitive so we'll make sure we have fun with it."
First thing's first though. And winning that state championship as teammates keeps both of them focused on the task at hand.
"We'll base our game around what we do well," Sents said. "We'll adjust if we have to. But if you play well you should be in good shape."