Battlin’ Bears volleyball standout in the region, sports article by Preston Davenport

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The sports programs of Rocky Mountain College are one the main attractions of the institution. At least half of the student population at Rocky consists of student athletes in one of the many programs. One of the staples of Rocky Mountain College sports is the women’s volleyball team. One word that describes the women’s volleyball team is: consistency. Each year, the volleyball team is in the national tournament, often placing high and beating top Copy of IMG_9031teams in the country. “We are working better as a team this year than we were last year,” said Junior Hailey Copinga. “We know each other’s tendencies and how everyone plays. We are able to help each other strengthen our weaknesses and build off of our strengths. Everyone has strengths that our team as a whole benefits from. Off the court we have incredible relationships, everyone considers each other best friends.”

On Oct. 13 and 14 the volleyball team took a step away from the Frontier Conference to compete in the Grand View tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. RMC went to split two matches at the tournament on Oct 13, going 2-2 in Des Moines. The women finished the weekend strong, topping the No. 1 team in the country, Viterbo, in five sets (25-19, 20-25, 28-26, 20-25, 19-17). The Battlin’ Bears served Viterbo (23-1) their first loss of the season in the tournament. “Our reaction was pure excitement” Copinga went on to say. “The atmosphere and energy was incredible. Everyone was involved, parents, coaches, players, and even [Montana] Tech was cheering us on. We went into the game with a ‘we don’t have anything to lose’ attitude. We all agreed the we would all give 110%. It was our last game [in the tournament] and we left it all on the court. The odds were stacked against us, but deep down we knew we had it in us.”

Copy of IMG_8989Olivia L’Ami posted 18 kills in the match. Hailey Copinga added 14 kills and 16 digs, Tess Hellerud added 14 kills and Daniella Russell added 11 kills. As a team, Rocky posted 97 kills with 34 of them being from Holland Ferguson.

The volleyball team returned from their big upset back to the Frontier Conference the following weekend on October 20. The women took to the road again with their first match back against Montana State University Northern. The women went on to beat the Lights in three sets.

The women ended up struggling and taking a loss in five sets on Saturday, Oct. 21, against Great Falls (22-25, 25-18, 17-25, 25-23, 16-14). Going into the game, the Battlin’ Bears ledas the No. 1team in the conference. Sydney Matheny led the team with 15 kills, followed by Olivia L’Ami with 14 kills. Hailey Copinga also posted 11 kills and 20 digs, while Natalie Hilderman had 46 assists and 11 digs and Holland Ferguson posted 28 digs.

The main adjustments we need to make [after the loss to Great Falls] is work on eliminating errors, especially at crucial times in the game,” said Copinga. “Our plan to recover from the loss is to give 110% every single day in practice. Everyone wants to get better, be successful and make it to the postseason. We are working on eliminating errors and finishing strong. The team is very close and if everyone has their A-game we can do incredible things.”

Copy of IMG_8998The Battlin’ Bears made their adjustments, and on Oct.24, they would come back and beat cross town rival MSU-Billings in three sets (25-19, 25-18, 25-21). As a whole, the volleyball team posted 46 kills, 9 blocks, 1 ace by Holland Ferguson, 89 digs, and 44 assists. he victory over MSU-Billings puts the volleyball team at 19 wins and 9 losses on the season.

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