BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche’s varsity volleyball players gained a lot of experience during a season that ended with a 9-19 record.
“We had really nice numbers in our program this year,” Broncs’ head coach Loree Schlichtemeier said. “We had a really enthusiastic, younger group of girls that came in.”
The squad did not have a lot of varsity experience coming into the season. Schlichtemeier said that was a concern, but she added some of those players would gain experience at that level.
The Broncs defeated Sturgis three games to zero in their season opener but then dropped six straight matches. Victories over Powder River (three games to one) and Hot Springs (3-0) improved Belle Fourche’s record to 3-6.
Belle Fourche earned victories over Red Cloud (three games to zero), Lead-Deadwood (2-0), and Bennett County (2-0) as its mark moved to 6-8.
The Broncs posted victories over Potter County (three games to zero), Douglas (3-0), and Spearfish (3-2) later in the season. Belle Fourche finished 9-18 when the regular season ended.
Belle Fourche brought the number 6 seed into the Region 8A tournament. The Broncs dropped a three-games-to-zero decision to number 3 seed Rapid City Christian to end the season.
On-court highlights for Schlichtemeier included the Spearfish match, which was the Broncs’ only five-game match. Belle Fourche prevailed three games to two, including a 15-11 triumph in that fifth game.
“Coming out with a W on the road, and winning the fifth set, was huge for us as far as just finishing a match,” Schlichtemeier said.
Schlichtemeier also cited the home match against St. Thomas More as a season highlight. Belle Fourche fell three games to one, but she said the team did some good things.
“Throughout the season, we just had some different individuals that we needed to play some pretty big roles,” Schlichtemeier said. She added some players also developed throughout the campaign.
How did the Broncs evolve throughout the season?
Schlichtemeier said injuries played a role, with a couple of seniors missing most matches. That changed the lineup from what the team thought it would be.
“If you look at all three of our teams (varsity, junior varsity, and ninth grade), at each grade level, I think there are lots of kids that made some big improvements,” Schlichtemeier said.
Taryn Stedillie, Aspen Braning, Alexis Cherveny, Harley Fischer, and Elena Wolf represented the senior class as did student manager Destanie Lugamo. Schlichtemeier said two of those players were injured early in the season, and the others tried to fill leadership roles.
“I think we’ve got some exciting things going on,” Schlichtemeier said when looking into the program’s future. “Hopefully, we’ll have a crew that comes back next year that has some more varsity experience than where we started this year.”
Schlichtemeier anticipates some younger players will develop and do some good things. She said the team has a lot of skill aspects that must be cleaned up before next season begins.
“I would like to wish our seniors the best of luck,” Schlichtemeier said.
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