Rangers aim high

Gray Hughes

The Hill City Rangers volleyball team is aiming high.

The team lost just two seniors to graduation, yet the two were strong players, said Lindsy Wathen, head coach. The team is looking to fill the gaps the pair left in the front row and go further into post season play this year.

“We return five of our starters, including Dale Schrier, Hailey Wathen, Shalie Weaver and Abby Siemonsma,” Wathen said. “The rest of the roster is rounded out by players who saw varsity time last year and have fine tuned skills in the off-season, including Allison Clemetson, Whitney Edwards and Macey Wathen. Younger players with experience and strong volleyball skills, including Addisen Barber and Sydney Wathen, are also expected to make big impacts.”

This year’s team featues 26 girls. Looking at this, Wathen said her team’s strength this year is in its depth. The girls on the court or those on  the bench are all capable of making a big play at any time.

Several, Wathen added, are very versatile and are strong in more than one position.

“They’re able to divide up the duties and take the pressure off each other,” Wathen said.

Of course, Wathen said, her team hopes to be on top of the region going into playoffs and make another appearance in the SoDak 16; however, that’s not the end game.

The end game, Wathen said, is an apperance at the state tournament.

COVID-19 is a reality that the team still has to deal with, but, luckily, Wathen said, the team was ablet to get into the gym beginning June 1.

“We were limited in phase one, but were able to scrimmage and even attend camps in July,” Wathen said. “We know we need to be flexible and ready for any changes that COVID may briing and are grateful to get some kind of play in.”

Some matches have already been cancelled, some will not allow fans and some fan attendance will be limited, she added.

This is coupled with rule changes to limit contact between teams such as not switching sides or exchanging handshakes.

“We just hope to play a full season and stay healthy,” Wathen said.

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