Julianne Lundvall grew up idolizing Iowa State volleyball setter Piper Mauck.
Mauck played for the Cyclones from 2017 to 2020. She was an All-Big 12 passer who could do a bit of everything, finishing her career with 2,933 assists and 175 kills.
“She’s the reason I wanted to be a setter,” Lundvall said. “He’s my big inspiration.”
Now Lundvall hopes to emulate Mauck’s success during his senior season at Gilbert.
Gilbert is coming out of a big year of reconstruction on the volleyball court. The Tigers were Class 3A semi-finalists in 2020, but after losing all but one starter from that team, they struggled through a 6-28 campaign in 2021.
Lundvall entered one of the passer spots last year, needing to fill the shoes of two standout performers on this state tournament team in Nessa Johnson and Taylor Grinley. It hasn’t always been easy navigation for Lundvall, who finished his junior year with 328 assists in 90 sets.
But after a dedicated offseason playing with fellow Tigers Abby Greder and Nicky Cory on club ball, Lundvall took his game to a whole new level this fall.
“We knew last year the basics of what she could do,” Gilbert’s head coach Stacy Johnson said. “She’s much more comfortable this year taking on that role. She works really well with her hitters and knows what they need and how to address it.
After:How the Gilbert volleyball team plans to get back to winning ways in 2022
After:Ames’ volleyball gives Harrison Barnes Court a good introduction. The Little Cyclones win the opening game.
After:Will Ames win the Little Cy-Hawk trophy? Our Week 3 predictions for area high school football
Lundvall worked hard to spot his hitters in Gilbert’s 6-2 attack. She has improved her timing with their connections and is more accurate with her sets in the first 13 games of the 2022 season.
“I love the feel of a silver ball,” Lundvall said. “When you see the ball come out of your hands and you see the batter, it’s just a great feeling.”
Heading into Thursday’s home match with Ballard, a 3-2 victory for Gilbert, Lundvall had amassed 99 assists in 33 sets sharing setting duties with junior Haley Loonan.
But she can do more than just set up her teammates.
Prior to the Ballard match, Lundvall also ranked second on the team in eliminations. She had accumulated 48, behind only Cory’s 61.
“Anytime we have a set off the system, the other team knows exactly where it’s going, but they’re not going to pick it up,” Greder said. “Having Julianne hit so much more this year has been the coolest thing ever.”
His striking ability has allowed Loonan to thrive in the other setter spot and gives Coach Johnson the ability to give Gilbert’s opponents different looks.
“I feel like we’re lucky to be able to go 6-2,” said Stacy Johnson. “She has a very high vertical and she uses it well. She’s a smart player and it’s really good to have that.
Lundvall credits Greder, Gilbert’s libero and the lone remaining starter on the 2019 State team, with making life a lot easier when attacking the Tiger.
“When she passes – silver balls,” Lundvall said. “Every night. That’s how I get my assists.
Stacy Johnson said she had fun watching Lundvall and Greder work together on the court.
“They trust each other,” Johnson said. “They just feed off each other. It’s a very good combo. »
It’s a big reason why Gilbert, at 5-9 after Ballard’s win, will easily surpass last year’s win total this fall.
As valuable as Lundvall’s volleyball skills are, it’s her leadership that really stands out to her teammates.
“Julianne really holds our team together,” Greder said. “Every time we’re down Julianne comes in and says guys we’ve got this, you’re fine. She has full confidence in everyone and in herself. It really lifts us up and that’s why this season turns out to be different.
Lundvall’s drive for success helps the whole team to gain confidence.
“She doesn’t get knocked down by specific games,” Stacy Johnson said. “She’s just a fighter and a competitor where she’s going to bounce back and find a way to get the point.”
Gilbert wants to finish in the top half of the Raccoon River Conference this season. The Tigers got off to a good start, going 2-1 in conference after Thursday’s win.
Lundvall plans to do whatever she can to help the Tigers achieve that goal.
“I just want to be able to lead the attack and get some kills,” Lundvall said. “I love doing it. It’s a great moment.