Battle of Q Street made 100 times better

Millard West coach makes history in rivalry game


Photo by Coryn Riedel

Head coach Joe Wessel and his team pose for photos after winning his 100th career game. Win number 100 did not come easy as it was against a fierce rival and one of the top teams in the state. “It was a battle from start to finish,” Wessel said. “Our goal was to stay aggressive, follow the game plan and let things fall into place. We have to maintain confidence, grit and our mental game to continue on the path we set forth to accomplish at the beginning of the season.”

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

Riding high on a seven game win streak and on the heels of history, the Millard West Varsity Volleyball team made the short drive down Q Street to face rival Millard South on Thursday, Sep. 9.

There were a lot of storylines entering this game. The Wildcats have had a spectacular season, losing only once prior to this game, the Patriots also entered the game with a solid record of 5-3. The Wildcats defeated the Patriots earlier in the season, so this set up for an intense rivalry rematch. However, the rematch was a little more personal for one person.

Millard West’s head coach Joe Wessel entered the game with 99 career wins. Wessel began this season with 89 career wins and, thanks to a so far dominant season by his team, Wessel had the chance to get his 100th win with half the season remaining.

Wessel has been coaching at Millard West for 10 years, with this being his eleventh season as a coach of the team. He was an assistant coach on the varsity team for six years before taking over the head coaching role he has had for the last five.

Entering this contest, Wessel and the team were taking on the fourth ranked team in the state so they knew that it would be a very tough contest. Which meant that Wessel didn’t even think about his achievement coming up. He was just focused on getting a win against one of the top teams in the state.

“I knew I was getting close but honestly forgot that I was going for 100 against Millard South,” Wessel said. “I was more focused on our game plan and doing what needed to be done to take down the Patriots.”

The players knew that they had the possibility to achieve this huge goal for the coach, so they gave it their all and thought of him throughout the game

“As a team, we knew that if we won it would be his 100th win so going into the game we had the mindset to play this game for coach Wessel,” senior Ella Hazen said. “We knew we had nothing to lose so playing our best in front of a great student section is what we did to achieve this goal for our coach.”

When the final point was scored, the scoreboard showed what a dominant performance the Wildcats had put on. They bested the Patriots in only three sets, never allowing the Patriots above the 20 point mark, and earning coach Wessel his 100th career victory.

Wessel has had a very successful career as a Millard West coach. This is caused by his time and effort put into each and every game. Wessel also builds strong relationships inside of the Millard West volleyball program and that is part of the reason he has been so successful.

“One of the big reasons I have enjoyed coaching with coach Wessel is because of his positive interactions with his players and his coaching staff,” assistant coach and science teacher Kristen Holzer said. “He has really preached creating a competitive and positive culture for Millard West volleyball and I think he has done a great job in accomplishing this goal.”

The victory improved the team’s record to 11-1 overall, cementing their place as the second ranked team in the state.

“This team is hungry after last year’s final four appearance,” Wessel said. “They know what needs to be done to be successful. I think it’s going to be a special season.”

Millard West has played four games since Wessel earned his 100th win, going 3-1 over that span. This puts Wessel at a total of 103 wins and the team at an overall record 14-2. They will play their next game on Thursday, Sep. 16 where they will face off against the Papillion-LaVista Monarchs.