Fall Sports Preview - Volleyball

Thursday, August 25, 2022

COLUMBUS COUGAR The Columbus Lady Cougars begin their season Thursday, Aug. 25 taking on the Panthers of Jefferson in their first home game of the season. They follow up on by hosting their own tournament on Saturday, Aug. 27, which has Class C and Class B volleyball teams from around the area.

The Lady Cougars are coached by first year head coach Nichole Brower and will be assisted by veteran Kevin Chandler in his second year of coaching the JV squad at Columbus and Danielle McGowan coaching the C Squad for her first year.

The 2022-2023 volleyball season features four seniors — Abby Anderson, Isabelle Gurie, Maylee Lowell, and Nancy Scarbro and return many players from last year’s team.

ABSAROKEE HUSKIES The Lady Husky volleyball team is focusing on three tenets this season: All In, All Together, All the Time.

Nicki Reissig returns for her fifth year as head volleyball coach with the Lady Huskies, nine years total. Beth Pelton will again assist her, in her fourth year with the Husky JV team.

The Lady Husky roster boasts 16 members— two seniors, Tandy Planichek and Cheyenne Turner; four juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen. Although they graduated two players from last year’s roster, they return a plethora of talented athletes, four of which were starters — Planichek, sophomore Julianna Feddes, sophomore Amber Peterson and junior Keagan Sandlin. The team finished 3-13 last season and went to 0-2 in the District Tournament, eventually losing a tough last match in 5. The Lady Huskies are a team to watch as they return a solid group of leaders that are fundamentally improving every day.

Coach Reissig believes her team’s talent and skill development have improved greatly. However, her priority is graduating kids that have excellent character and work ethic. “We are proud to represent the Absarokee community and do our best to be excellent role models to all of our Huskies,” said Reissig.

Some teams to watch in District 6C are Bridger, who is always tough and did not lose a single athlete to graduation. She is also expecting Roberts and Custer/Hysham to be tough, but fun competition.

“I truly feel like we are coming in a step ahead of where we normally are due to the work these girls put in over the summer. Fundamentals are a preseason focus for us, but we are taking them to a quicker, more intense level,” stated Reissig.

The Lady Huskies open their season at the Lone Peak tournament on Saturday, August 27.

REEDPOINT/RAPELJE RENEGADES The RPR Lady Renegades finished fourth in the conference last year and are looking to use their returning experience to finish even better. They graduated one from last year’s team but return many talented, experienced athletes. Seniors returning are Lily Herzog, Loli Jarrett, Bristol Ketola, Kylee Bryant and Adrianna Trezzi. Three juniors, three sophomores and one freshman will help to round out the team.

Coach Teresa Bare is beginning her 7th year as the head coach of the Lady Renegades where she assisted for 5 years before taking over the reins. She will be assisted this year by Cole Bare who will be in his first year with the volleyball program.

In a small school, every athlete is important and valued and everyone has their role in the team’s success.

Loli Jarrett returns as defensive specialist and will be a defender to keep an eye on. Lily Herzog and Katelynn Bakke are hitters that will be fun to watch throughout the season. Setter, Allana Holderman will be a player to pay attention to.

According to Coach Bare, Bridger, Roberts and Custer/ Hysham will be strong contenders in 4C.

Coach Bare and her crew are focusing on the concept of “team.” Play for each other and every match matters will be the philosophy heard throughout the gym.

The Lady Renegades travel to Broadview/Lavina to participate in a volleyball tournament on Saturday, August 27.

PARK CITY PANTHER In her first year as a head coach ever, Sarah Bolin is excited to take over for the Lady Panthers. Although this being her first head coaching position, she has had experience coaching volleyball, basketball and track at the JV and junior high level. She will be assisted by Bailey Schriver who is also in her first year of coaching at the high school level.

The Lady Panthers are coming off a very successful season, with a conference record of 10-4 and an overall record of 18-11, placing third at the District 6C tournament and winning their first game at the Divisional tournament since 2017. They graduated four seniors from last year’s roster, but return three starters in seniors Nicole Wirsching, Tessa McNeil and Makala Hoffman. Adding to the 2022 roster are four juniors, five sophomores and eight freshmen for a total of 20 girls.

Coach Bolin feels her seniors will definitely be athletes that contribute this season. Tessa McNeil is the primary setter and has great hands. Nicole is going to be a huge contribution in the front row as a hitter, as well as a great passer in the back row. Makala has an awesome attack that will be more prevalent as she progresses through the season. Upcoming athletes are Sophomore Kendalyn Streck who is going to help out tremendously as a blocker/hitter in the middle as well as junior Chloe McNamee. Macy Witt is a freshman who is evolving into an all-around hustle player, one who works hard, has a great vertical and the potential to be a key attacker.

Although time will tell because you never know how teams will evolve after losing seniors every year, Coach Bolin recognizes Bridger and Roberts as being big contenders from last season.

According to Coach Bolin, getting down to the basics has been a main priority for this group. Once they can establish good passing, good communication, and a good sense of where they are on the court, that’s when she will dive into the logistics of rotations, trick plays, etc.

“I tell the girls all the time “you play like you practice.” When I first came in, it seemed as though a lot of them had this “losing mindset” whenever other teams would be brought up, so we are working on a “clean slate” so to speak,” said Coach Bolin.

She encourages her athletes to go into every game with the intent of playing head-to-head if not winning and the whole idea of playing your best for the team and not necessarily for yourself.

“We talk a lot about character and how much of a head-game volleyball is – encourage yourself AND your teammates always,” stated Panther Head Coach Bolin.

The Lady Panthers open their volleyball season by attending a pre-season tournament at Columbus with other Class B and Class C from around the area on Saturday, Aug. 27.