Emma Flach rises to return the ball against Sheridan.

Time to get rowdy

In search of a winning edge, volleyball coaches serve up challenge to fans
“The energy in the stands fuels the fire on the court. The louder you are in the stands, the more inspired we will play.”–Head Coach Missy Botha

During preseason conditioning in August, the Lone Peak High School volleyball team was whipped into shape with help from Kyle Wisniewski.

     “He’s just a madman triathlete dude,” said Head Coach Missy Botha, running through the different ways her team looks for a winning edge. On top of conditioning, there’s passing. 

     “The offense all starts with passing,” explained Assistant Coach Beth Billington, recalling how passing drills filled the hours of practice leading up to the team’s first regular season match on Sept. 1 vs. Shields Valley. 

     The varsity won in three games to Shields Valley. Game one was 25-18. Games two and three were both 25-14. 

     On Sept. 7, the Big Horns travel to West Yellowstone to face the Wolverines. Then they are back at home against Gardiner on Sept. 14, when both coaches hope Big Horn fans will show up ready to cheer loudly. 

     “Volleyball can get rowdy,” said Coach Billington. “But Lone Peak High does not necessarily get rowdy at any sport. We think we can do better. Volleyball is an exciting sport. Come watch us play it.”

     Coach Botha said the extra cheering is one way to gain an edge over the opposing team.

     “The energy in the stands fuels the fire on the court,” said Botha. “The louder you are in the stands, the more inspired we will play.”

     Botha played college volleyball at Tufts University and specialized in passing as a setter. Billington played for Bates College, which is in the same conference as Tufts, but the two never faced each other on the court. 

     “Beth was a middle hitter. So she has that expertise. Hitting and blocking and transferring,” said Botha. 

     Looking to give hitters more practice sending kill shots over the net, LPHS acquired an AcuSpike device, which simulates a perfect set over and over. 

     “They love it,” said Botha, of her players’ response to the arrival of the AcuSpike. 

     “It will help with good, solid hitting form,” added Billington, as Coach Botha chimed back in, “It will make you a good hitter, but it starts with good footwork.”

     Watching video of future opponents and past games helps players get to know their place on the court.

     “This year, we will definitely watch a lot of tape,” said Coach Botha, before commenting on how there is such a thing as too much preparation in high school sports. 

     “They’re students first,” noted Botha.

     “And we emphasize that to them,” continued Coach Billington. “And we stay on top of them. Sports helps a lot with time management.”

     Lookout readers are encouraged to block out time for a trip to the LPHS gym, starting with the Gardiner match on the 14th. Next comes an away match vs. Belgrade on Sept. 18 and back at home on Sept. 20 when rival Manhattan Christian arrives looking to spoil homecoming for the Horns. If ever there was a time to show up and cheer, this Thursday evening showdown later in the month would be it. The varsity takes the court at 7 p.m. 

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