The Pittsfield volleyball team won eight matches last season.
It's now the first week of September, and the Saukees have won all six matches they've played this fall. Going back to last season, Pittsfield has won 10 of its last 11 games.
"That's carried over," Pittsfield coach Jill Cook said. "They just understand volleyball better last year, and that was a big turning point. We can focus on other things like passing, and it's really shown."
Cook made sure to keep that momentum going from last season with summer workouts and camps. That's common for most volleyball teams, but Cook said it was a new concept for the Saukees. She even invited former Payson Seymour coach Rita Speckhart to help run the summer camp.
"You can't get a much better resource than that," Cook said. "It's normal, but that's out of the ordinary for them. We had a great turnout."
Senior middle hitter Maggie Marable, senior outside hitter Lilly Pepper and senior defensive specialist Kameron Smithers have fueled a fast start.
"Everyone just knows their spots," Cook said. "If you get the ball up in the air, Maggie is going to put it down. Lilly brings the hustle. Kameron's done a great job being that solid person in the back row."
Road trip to home
The Quincy High School volleyball team bus left the school parking lot at 1:15 p.m. Monday, heading for what was believed to be a Western Big Six Conference match against United Township in East Moline.
QHS athletic director Scott Douglas had e-mailed a roster early in the afternoon to school officials at United Township. It was quickly returned.
"They said, ‘Why did you send this to us? We're coming down there,'" Douglas said. "This one falls on me."
A clerical error had the Blue Devils listed on their schedule to play on the road when in fact the game was to be played in Quincy. The team learned about the mistake just as they reached Monmouth, and the bus was re-routed back home. They arrived at QHS about 45 minutes before the freshmen and junior varsity matches were scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
"Things happen. We're human," Blue Devils coach Tiffaney Rains said with a shrug. "The girls were excited. They got out of school early, they watched a movie on the bus, and they were good to go."
Rains was complimentary of the work by Douglas and athletic department secretary Shelly Salisbury, as well as her team parents, in getting everything ready.
"Scott and Shelly got the officials, the parents got the nets set up, and the custodians cleaned the gym up," she said. "We walked in the gym and we were good. It was less stressful than when we do have a home game, because everybody else took care of everything."
Wilson humbled by rushing record
Bryce Wilson knows the recent history of the quality of running backs to play for the West Hancock football team. In fact, he was a teammate of two of the top four career rushing leaders in Riley Langford and Will Fox.
"It shows the hard work I've put in," Wilson said. "All the dedication I've had all four years. My body has changed, and my perception of the game has changed."
Wilson, however, tops them all. The senior fullback broke the program's all-time rushing mark during the 36-6 victory over Carnahan on Sept. 1, passing Fox's record of 2,388 yards.
Wilson rushed for 65 yards last week in a 42-6 loss to Clark County, bringing his career total to 2,548. With six games remaining, reaching 3,000 yards is definitely in reach for Wilson.
Brookfield considers baseball
Brookfield is the only member of the Clarence Cannon Conference without a baseball team, but that may soon be ending.
KRES Radio out of Moberly, Mo., reported last week that a community group presented the Brookfield School Board with a proposal to add the sport. No decision has been made on the issue, but Superintendent Kyle Collins told KRES if Brookfield did field baseball it would be for the 2019-20 season. Collins also said the reason the school district hadn't offered baseball in the past was because of financial reasons, but he said that is no longer an issue.
Clark County went 40 years without baseball until it revived its program in 2014. The Indians won their first district championship last spring.
Sports Editor David Adam also contributed to this report.