By Chris Palmquist
LE MARS, Iowa--It was the type of loss that could derail any team's season. But the Gehlen Catholic Jays aren't any regular team.
Last week, the Jays led the Hinton Black Hawks 24-18 in the first set of a game that would determine the War Eagle Conference championship. The Black Hawks stormed back and swept Gehlen on their home floor.
"It was a tough loss," said Gehlen junior Morgan Whitehead.
"I think it gives us more determination," added Gehlen senior Baily Wiltgen.
Even though the outcome wasn't in favor of the Jays, Head Coach Mike Meyer saw positives in the loss.
"Overall, except for that last sequence in games one and two," he said, "we played some of our best volleyball."
Gehlen is ready to put that game behind them, and focus on the regional tournament and making a return to Cedar Rapids.
"I hope that we just come out like we did against Hinton, come out strong," Wiltgen said. "And I hope that we don't go into our slopes, which we will sometimes.
"I hope we pull ourselves out and keep doing what we're doing and play volleyball."
If the fifth-ranked Jays play like they are capable of playing, they could make their fifth straight appearance at the state tournament.
"That's what we're all looking forward to and we're hoping we can keep the legacy going," Wiltgen said.
"I love volleyball, and the past teams I've been able to be a part of, that's been a great honor," Whitehead added. "But this team is really special, and I think if we pave our own way to state that will be such an experience that will be fun for all of us."
The fun begins in round one against Siouxland Community Christian on Tuesday evening. First serve is set for 7 PM at the Jays' Nest in Le Mars.