Volleyball team heads to Havre

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The first weeks of practices have gone well, according to Lady Red Devils Coach Tiffaney Egan, who saw 30 girls out for the program this fall.

“Honestly I’ve been super impressed with the work ethic that they’ve brought, and their excitement,” she said Monday.

Gym stamina, ball control and overall volleyball knowledge are three things Egan noted this group of girls is bringing early in the season. She attributes that to more time in the gym overall, including participation in Club Volleyball in the off season.

“We have a lot of potential but we also have a lot of work to do,” she said.

Egan expects the team’s play to look a little different this year.

The team is coming in with a lot more upper body strength this season and that should show in their offensive game.

“Last year we had maybe one or two big guns, and this year we have three or four,” Egan, who is in her third year at head volleyball coach at DCHS, noted.

Also, this team’s pace is faster, said Egan, noting if the team can keep up with their own pace and transitions “we are golden.”

The 2018 team has three seniors – Tanille Lovato, Bailey Pearcy and Thea Robson – all of whom Egan said will be utilized well.

“They’ll be a huge asset,” she added.

The team also has a strong group of five junior girls who will play key roles on the varsity squad this year. The team’s juniors are Meadow Torres, Karsen Murphy, Ashley Clapp, Kayla Brown and Ashley Reynolds.

Brown, who is coming in to be a setter for the team this year, “has really worked hard and has excellent leadership skills,” noted the coach.

Egan said there are also a few strong freshmen she is excited about. One in particular – Brittany Kaufman – will be moving between the junior varsity and varsity squads as the season begins.

The Lady Devils had a successful season last year, taking fourth at divisionals and earning their first trip to the state tournament in 12 years.

Egan said the team is working hard to fill the gaps left by the three teammate who graduated this spring.

“They just brought a solid leadership. They led by example ... that’s what we’re trying to replace right now,” Egan said.

This season’s team captains are Murphy, Brown, Torres and Robson.

The varsity team just returned from their varsity retreat in West Yellowstone where the team competed in the first annual Dawson County Volleyball Triathonlon and “had a great time,” she said.

Team bonding, leadership and training were all part of the trip.

The Lady Devils head off to Havre this weekend for the Tip-Off Tournament. They won’t be on their home court until Tuesday, Sept. 11 when they host Sidney.

DCHS will host the Eastern A Divisional Volleyball Tournament this year, which will take place Oct. 31 - Nov. 3.

As for the other teams in the Eastern A Division, Egan said Billings Central will always be competitive, and she expects the Hardin teams to be tough as well.

The Lady Devils were able to get a glimpse at the Sidney team at the MSU team camp and Egan noted that they “looked good.” Laurel and Miles City both have new coaches this year and are building their programs.

As for the Lady Red Devils, Egan is ready to get her team on the court to see what skills they will need to focus on after their first competition.

“We all have butterflies. Just excited to see where we’re at, excited for the first game,” Egan said.

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at rreditor@rangerreview.