The Forest City volleyball team is coming off their second conference championship in the past three seasons, and as the returning champ, with key pieces coming back – they will be the conference favorite.
Lacy Jerome will return once again as the Indians volleyball coach. Jerome is entering her 11th year as the head coach; she took over before the 2011-2012 season. Since that time, her teams have recorded only one losing season, a conference tournament championship in 2013, and two regular-season championships in 2018 and 2020. She is also the reigning Top of Iowa West Coach of the Year.
Forest City will have some big gaps to fill from seniors who left the program a year ago. Kaylee Miller is off to play at Morningside. Ellie Caylor was the team’s libero, Kennedy Baker and Alyson Walker split time in big roles, and Hannah Anderson in the middle. Jerome knows those were big pieces not to bring back, but she has confidence in the younger girls.
Before talking about how practices have started, Jerome mentioned how thankful she was for the newly created family week. An addition to the statewide activities calendar, it bars coaches and school staff from communicating with athletes allowing them to take family vacations and spend time with their loved ones. It did, however, change how Jerome and the Indians get ready.
A contributor since her freshman season, Shae Dillavou is now a senior.
Shae was one of three first-team all-conference players for the Indians a year ago but the lone returner. She recorded 227 kills, 35 blocks, 188 digs in 83 sets last year. She was also 94% serving with 10 aces in 167 total serves. Along with her skills in action, Dillavou and the other upperclassmen will need to be leaders for the young girls stepping into key roles.
After a season-ending injury that took nearly a year to recover from, Forest City and Jerome are glad to have Regan Helgeson back. The then-junior went down while Forest City and Lake Mills were battling it out for the conference title. Now back to practice, Helgeson says she’s feeling good.
Regan recorded 78 kills and 30 blocks a year ago. Playing most of the conference season before her injury, she also put up numbers that caught the area coaches’ eyes. She was selected to the TIC West second-team all-conference team. She, Dillavou, and classmate Keevan Jones have a chance to win their third conference championship in the four-season.
Bishop Garrigan, Lake Mills, and possibly others will have a say before the conference trophy is handed out, and Forest City knows that, says Jerome.
Bishop Garrigan had Forest City on the ropes last year before the Indians came alive to set up the battle with Lake Mills. A loss like that will be in the back of the Golden Bears’ minds when they hit the floor against the Indians this year.
On defense, Forest City will return Jones, who recorded 135 kills last season and was Forest City’s most constant weapon serving. She was 97% percent from the service line, committing just seven errors in 305 serves. She also recorded 20 aces for the Indians.
Keevan said one of the best attributes of the team right now is chemistry.
Jones wasn’t the only one who sees the team’s close-knit attitude; it was also mentioned by Helgeson and Dillavou. Forest City is hoping to cash in on this camaraderie for years to come. The older girls teaching and helping the younger girls and answering questions will hopefully bread future success.
Only two teams have removed Forest City from postseason play in the past four years, Osage and Dike-New Hartford. Those teams will play in Class 2A this year, leaving a void that a team will fill. Could it be Forest City? Only time will tell. The Indians haven’t made an appearance in Cedar Rapids since 2015, when they lost to the eventual runners-up West Liberty. Last year, Osage beat Forest City in the regional championship game on their way to the Class 3A State Championship.
Forest City opens the season on August 26th at home against Eagle Grove, and the game will be live on KIOW FM 107.3 with live video at KIOW.com.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at email@example.com or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. You will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians’ flagship station throughout the year.