The Eagle Butte High School senior boys volleyball started are a young, undersized team that has to battle for every point this season so far.
A roster that only contains two Grade 12s are having to develop there overall skills in practice with the hope of them transitioning into games.
“We still have small numbers and we only had 17 players (try out),” said head coach Darren Dola.
“We’re a small team. We have to be defensive minded. You can’t really think offense. We play good, big teams, (and) we got to find ways to shut down their hitting.
“And just simple things like showing the block and make sure your hands are up for the block and time with the block does a world of good. We’ve played some big teams and when we shut down their hitting , you can shut the whole team down.”
Positioning and putting the players where they best fit is what an undersized team like the Talons have to do to be competitive, he added.
The goal the team is to “constantly improve,” said Dola.
“We’re farther ahead than we were last year,” he said.
“I think it was towards the end of the season before we won our first match. But we finally won our first match at the first tournament in Lethbridge.”
He constantly reminds his players that volleyball is a moving sport because some of the players have come from junior high school where there was very little maneuvering.
Chase Hart, who has seen the ups and downs of the Eagle Butte program, has seen improvement in the team game as well as his overall play.
“At the beginning I was hitting three bricks up the wall and now I’m hitting closer to the middle of the court,” said Hart.
“It’s really nice to swing through and get that hit. We’ve always had a younger team going through my entire high school, except when I first started because I started on the JV (junior varsity) team. We were an older grade but then lots of the older kids left and we’re left now with the younger kids for the senior team.
“And going through that entire thing, it’s been really hard because it feels almost pleasing when you get that point.”
The habits at the junior high were pushed out of him by the previous seniors and he wants to take on the leadership role and be tougher on the new players coming in so they can carry on that attitude for when he graduates.