Lady Red Devils strong heading into Divisional with big goals in mind

By: 
Jamie Ausk Crisafulli
Thursday, November 7, 2019
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The Dawson County High School volleyball team is headed into the Eastern A Divisional this week after securing first place in their conference following a final win over Fergus High School Saturday.

The Lady Devils head to Havre Thursday for the super-divisional tournament which will include nine teams from Northeast A and Southeast A.

Coach Tiffaney Egan said she isn’t aware of the last time the Lady Devils won their conference, noting that in DCHS history, the volleyball team has made only four appearances at state, which include the last two seasons. The Lady Devils placed fourth at divisionals the past two years.

Their goal for divisionals is much loftier this year.

“We have some goals. We want to be in that championship match,” Egan said Tuesday. “We feel like we’re going to meet Billings Central in that championship match.”

But the road to the championship will have its obstacles, according to the DCHS coach.

“Laurel is looking better, they’ve been getting better and better throughout the season, as well as Hardin,” she said. “We need to go right to work.”

The DCHS Lady Devils finished their season with a 7-1 conference record, with their only loss coming at the hands of Havre. The NE Conference teams finished in this order: Dawson, Havre, Miles City, Fergus and Sidney.

Egan said her team is on “an upward momentum.” The last two matches – against Miles City and Fergus – gave the team a huge boost, according to Egan, something they needed after rough matches against Hardin and Havre.

“That’s what volleyball is all about is, if you’re behind, figuring out how to build momentum. That happens one point at a time, one set at a time. Maybe you lose a set and you’re behind, you have to finish that set with some momentum to go into the next one with some strong push,” she said. “The same with the season, there are ups and downs all the time. Right now they’re in an upward momentum.”

The team is feeling strong and is injury free.

The Lady Devils will play their first match on Thursday at 5 p.m., competing against the winner of the Park High and Sidney match from earlier in the day.

“Honestly I don’t think we could have landed a better spot. We’re going to the play the winner of the last two seated teams from both conferences. It’s going to be a ice breaker game,” Egan said.

A match win will pit the Lady Devils against the winner of Laurel and Miles City.

“What’s nice about that is that we’ve had a good look at both of those teams. That kind of instills a little bit of confidence in our girls,” Egan said.

Forward from that point in the tourney, the Lady Devils will face three strong matches and will have to compete at their best level to earn their state position.

Billings Central earned the title for the Southeast A with a 6-0 conference record (10-1 overall). The BC team will be on the opposite side of the bracket as the Lady Devils to start the tournament. The SE Conference finished with Billings Central, followed by Laurel, Hardin and Park High.

Four teams will advance to state from the Eastern A Divisional Tournament.

Getting one of the top spots out of divisional is “crucial,” Egan said. The past two years the team’s fourth place put them on the bracket against a No. 1 team out of the west to start the state tourney.

The Lady Devils have a focus on teamwork, which is what Egan credits much of their success on.

“You have to have players on the court that you can rely on. Trust, they trust each other. When they play you can tell, when they celebrate they are genuinely excited for each other’s successes. They are really buying into that, they are doing a good job,” Egan said.

That focus and the ability to play their best volleyball in the postseason is the key.

“I believe at our strongest we can compete and overcome any of those teams at that state tournament,” Egan said. “The challenge will be keep staying healthy, keeping our momentum up and recognizing our endurance.”

See a full bracket for the Eastern A Divisional Tournament on Page 8 of today’s Ranger-Review.

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at rreditor@rangerreview.com .

“I believe at our strongest we can compete and overcome any of those teams at the state tournament,”
Tiffaney Egan, DCHS volleyball coach

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