Lady Panthers ready for tough schedule
Rugby High’s Lady Panther volleyball squads hit the gym after school this week, practicing spikes, digs and blocks to prepare for their season opener September 3 at North Star.
Although coach Jessica Fritz described this year’s varsity team as “younger,” she said the Lady Panthers are more than ready to fill the void left by last year’s senior stars.
“We’re coming off a pretty awesome year few years, actually,” Fritz noted. “We had some great leaders, but we have some younger girls who’ve really stepped up to the plate already. They’re working hard at practice; putting in a lot of time all those areas where we’re going to be struggling because we miss those seniors who graduated, we have some girls who are going to step up and try to fill those shoes.”
Fritz said the younger players “know the importance of having a successful season again, and they want to jump right in and fill in where those other girls left off.”
The Lady Panthers have some tough competitors on their schedule this year.
“We always start off the season with tough competition with North Star,” Fritz said. “They always produce some solid teams every year. They’re not in our district or our region, but they’re a fun team to play from outside of the district and give us a gauge of where we are overall.”
Fritz said two important tournaments are on the team’s schedule as well.
“We love that Bottineau Early Bird tournament that we’re going to go to again; it’s September 7,” Fritz noted. “We’ll just get a good gauge on how our team’s looking amongst other teams.”
“Also,” she added, “we’re invited to the Des Lacs-Burlington Invitational, which is a pretty competitive tournament. They get teams from all over the state. It’s always a great preview for these really solid teams. We were lucky we were invited and we get an opportunity to partake in that tournament.”
Fritz said the Lady Panthers’ first home game will take place September 10, when they face St. John High School’s Lady Woodchucks.
“That’s always a fun game for me personally,” Fritz noted. “That’s where I first started teaching. A lot of the girls I taught have now graduated, but a lot of the (staff) are still there, and (the students’) siblings are playing, so it’s always a fun game for me, too.”
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