Lady Digger VB season goes beyond wins and losses

Allison Mollman dives for the ball during a varsity volleyball match last season. Mollman and a young Lead-Deadwood team showed considerable improvement throughout the season, according to head coach Kim Hansen. Pioneer file photo

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LEAD — Lead-Deadwood’s varsity volleyball team provided a perfect example of won-lost records not telling the entire story of a campaign.

“We improved so much from the beginning until postseason,” Lead-Deadwood head coach Kim Hansen said in reviewing a campaign that ended with a 4-22 record. “As a coach, that’s the most important thing that you ask of your athletes.”

Hansen said the desired growth was not only from game to game, but also day to day. She added she was proud of the effort team members put forth.

“These girls bought in to the team being the most important thing on the court,” Hansen said in outlining team strengths going into the campaign. “There wasn’t any negativity.”

Lead-Deadwood dropped 11 sets by two points this season, with others by three and four points. Hansen said those could have gone either way.

“Being able to just take care of the ball and putting it where it needed to be put when the game was on the line: that was something that we struggled with this year,” Hansen said. She agreed this was the biggest concern area going into the season.

Lead-Deadwood fell to Newell to begin its season.

A triumph over Todd County improved the Golddiggers’ mark to 1-2.

A victory over Edgemont put Lead-Deadwood at 2-4 on the season. The Golddiggers fell to Spearfish and dropped their next five matches, making their record 2-10.

Lead-Deadwood defeated Bennett County and Lakota Tech during the rest of the regular season. The Golddiggers’ final regular-season record was 4-21.

The Golddiggers brought the number 7 seed into the Region 8A tournament. A three-games-to-zero setback (25-12, 25-9, 25-13) to Hill City ended the Lead-Deadwood campaign.

“I’ve never seen growth like I saw, even from one week to another,” Hansen said in describing the team’s evolution. “You could see it on their faces that they knew how far they had come.”

Hansen was asked about on-court highlights. She said the Golddiggers were competitive against superior opponents, including the aforementioned two-point margin or winning a game against other foes.

“The best part about this team is that each girl grew into her role,” Hansen said.

She added it is hard to be responsible for a coach-given role, but she never saw any of that doubt on the court.

Maddie Rogers, Jayna Prince, and Rachel Janssen represented the senior class. Hansen said they were a lot of fun, on and off the court.

Janssen and Prince have spent four years in the program. Rogers returned after suffering a broken hip as a ninth-grader; Hansen said that speaks volumes.

“You don’t hear of a lot of girls with rods in their hips from a traumatic accident that can come back,” Hansen said in describing Rogers. “To come back from that, dive on the floor, and get after it the way she wanted to.”

Prince was the player to receive the ball in key offensive situations, according to Hansen. The coach said Janssen loved to play defense, and succeeded in shutting down an opposing player.

“We’ve got a bunch of girls coming back next year with experience in some key roles,” Hansen said in looking toward the future. She cited outside hitter Allison Mollman, setter Piper Rogers, middle hitter Tilli Katon, and libero Sydnie Percy, and right-side hitter Erica Hansen.

Statistical leaders for the Golddiggers follow.

Attacking kills: Jayna Prince 142, Allison Mollman 116, Rachel Janssen 48, Tilli Katon 44, Erica Hansen 25.

Serving aces: Mollman 49, Katon 46, Prince 37, Hansen 26, Piper Rogers 16.

Set assists: Rogers 267, Mollman 20, Janssen 15, Prince 12, Katon 11.

Digs: Mollman 222, Sydnie Percy 124, Rogers 123, Prince 105, Katon 78.

Total blocks: Janssen 41 (30 solo and 11 assist), Prince 17 (9 solo and 8 assist), Katon 7 (4 solo and 3 assist), Hansen 6 (1 solo and 5 assist), Mollman 5 (4 solo and 1 assist).

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