COLUMBIA — At the beginning of the season, Chloe Kome, a senior setter for the Hickman volleyball team, was asked about her goals. Her response was immediate.
"I want to beat Rock Bridge," she said. "That’s my number one goal."
Hickman (2-19-2) vs. Rock Bridge (13-8-1)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Arena at Southwell Complex, Columbia College
Kome and Hickman’s other two seniors, Ali Baxter and Samantha Nielsen, will get their final chance in the regular season on Wednesday at Columbia College. The seniors have never beaten Rock Bridge on the varsity level.
The match will be senior night for both high schools. The two schools faced off earlier in the season at Hickman with Rock Bridge winning 25-13, 25-15.
“Our biggest issue the first time against Rock Bridge was our attitude,” Nielsen said. “Our team made a couple of mistakes and we got a negative attitude. That can't happen again."
Kome acknowledged there was a little more pressure to beat Rock Bridge considering this could be her team’s last opportunity. Both teams could meet in the district tournament set for Oct. 22 through Oct 23 at Rock Bridge.
On top of that, Hickman’s recent success against Rock Bridge in other sports has put some pressure on Kome and her teammates. Hickman’s football team defeated Rock Bridge this year for the first time since 2008. The Hickman volleyball team hasn't defeated Rock Bridge since 2009.
"There is definitely added pressure considering how well Hickman has done in other sports," Kome said. "People have talked about how great it is, and I want to know how that feels."
Hickman (2-19-2) hasn’t had the most desirable season in regards to its record, but a victory against Rock Bridge (13-8-1) would certainly give the Kewpies momentum heading into the district meet.
“This hasn’t been the greatest season for us,” Baxter said. “But if we are able to beat Rock Bridge, that would certainly be a great feeling.”
All three Hickman seniors mentioned knowing numerous players on the Rock Bridge team, but for Nielsen, it doesn’t matter once the whistle is blown.
"I am friends with some of players on the Rock Bridge team, but once you get on the court, you don’t think about it," Nielsen said. "It is a little awkward afterwards when you are shaking hands after the game, though."
Kome explained the excitement all of the seniors share about the potential of beating their rivals for the first time.
“For us this season has been all about this rivalry,” Kome said. “If we were to beat them, that would be my happiest moment of the season.”
Nielsen smiled widely at the thought.
"The feeling of beating Rock Bridge on senior night would definitely be one of the first things I remember 10 years from now when I look back on my high school experience," Nielsen said. "Beating Rock Bridge is something I would always remember."
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.