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Wild preseason sets up Peschong’s first year with Bobcat volleyball

Autumn Finch

There have certainly been smoother preseasons for Marshalltown volleyball.

The Bobcats begin their season Tuesday on the road against Des Moines East at 7:30 p.m., playing in a gym different to the regular high-school gym due to a power outage at East. That outage and a large portion of the uncertainty surrounding the Bobcats’ preseason practices came from the derecho that swept through the state of Iowa Aug. 10. First-year volleyball head coach Kaylee Peschong said the storm interrupted her first full practice with the team.

“We got only 30 minutes of actual court time before the storm,” Peschong said. “We ran to the locker room and huddled in the locker room while the storm passed.”

That scary moment was just the start of a crazy week. The Bobcats were unable to practice for the next couple of days after the derecho as the school was left without power. Their first practice back, Peschong said, was outside at the football field. The team did conditioning training and brought equipment out to the field, getting practice in but doing so completely out of its comfort zone.

What has helped Peschong is the culture of the team, she said. She praised the leadership and culture of the roster and said it has made things a lot easier to get her job done and get used to the team.

“We have good leadership from top to bottom,” Peschong said. “As a job it makes my job a lot easier.”

Marshalltown volleyball’s schedule is also still in the air. The Bobcats will go through with their game against the Scarlets Tuesday, but the home game Sept. 1 against Des Moines Lincoln is still up in the air given the ongoing battle between Des Moines Public Schools and the Iowa Department of Education.

Peschong said it feels like the schedule is “changing every day,” and that’s made it hard to focus on an opponent. So, early in the year, the Bobcats are focusing on what they can control.

This includes an offense that Peschong said was very balanced and has powerful hitters up front. One player to watch on the attack is Autumn Finch, a junior middle hitter who figures to play a large role in any Marshalltown successes.

Peschong focused heavily on the team’s cohesiveness and leadership ahead of a season in which the on-court product will be an unknown, with a new system and an upperclassmen-heavy squad who have to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic and a storm which has impacted their homes and their prep for a new coach’s first season.

Whatever the story is for Marshalltown volleyball this season, getting to the season’s start is an achievement on its own.

“I am really excited for the season,” Peschong said.

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