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Volleyball Is A Team Sport

By Staff | Aug 21, 2015

Key senior players for this year’s Volleyball team (left to right): Lauren Kraft, Ashley Schmaltz and Shea Heidlebaugh. Photo by JT Pelt/PCT

We had the pleasure to meet with Head Volleyball coach Jessica Fritz to talk about this year’s team. The Panthers start their season at the Bottineau tournament on Aug. 29. According to Fritz, “It’s a great tournament to start the year to get some court time for the girls and try new things.”

When asked what she was looking to stress for the start of practice this year, Fritz said, “We are going to be starting the season with a new line up. So we are going to spend time working on girls in new positions and just spend time going over all the basics.”

Fritz’s goals for this coming year are, “We are coming off a strong season last year (24-9).” She continued, “We won the district championship for the first time in team history last year. We are hoping to get back to the top of the district again and play solid volleyball.”

Last year’s team had a lot of seniors, so we asked Fritz what she feels are the team’s key losses, “We lost a large group of seniors to graduation. We had seven seniors on our roster that all saw court time. Emily Stier was a strong middle for us who earned all-district and all-region honors. It is hard to replace someone with that talent.”

When asked who will be this year’s key players. Fritz shared, ” We are looking to Shea Heidlebaugh to lead our team as a setter. She has been setter for the last couple seasons and we are going to draw on that experience. We will also be looking to Lauren Kraft and Ashley Schmaltz to be solid hitters for us. All three will bring important varsity experience.”

Heidlebaugh was named to the all-region team by the region’s coaches last year as a junior.

We met with the three seniors, Kraft, Schmaltz and Heidlebaugh, to get their sentiments for the upcoming season, and to exemplify the team unity that they hold dear they chose to speak as one. They were asked what they like about volleyball and they said, ” It is a team sport where to win you have to play together as one.” They continued, ” They enjoy playing volleyball for the Panthers under Coach Fritz; the atmosphere of the gym is always positive, they truly enjoy the camaraderie that playing for the Panthers brings and the memories that they make on and off the court. They concluded, ” We love having the honor of representing Rugby as a team!”

As you can see, their coach has instilled the importance of being a team in these young ladies and what it means to play as a team. Their volleyball journey begins Aug. 29, and that success will be determined by wins and losses, but the maturity and understanding that these young women already possess show that they are already winners on the path of life.

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