By: Brandon Keim –
In the past year, Rocky Mountain College’s Volleyball team was nothing less than a well-trained and an experienced group of players and coaches. The team overall went 32-3, while winning 31 straight matches. We caught up with four of the key players who played major roles on the team: Ahlea Bilis, Brooke Myers, Mariah Stiffarm, and Tori Bertsch. All four of these RMC players are juniors and look forward to next season.
Ahlea Billis is from Bozeman, Mont., and is pursuing a major in Biology/Chemistry. Although the games were some of her best memories from this past season, she said, “I loved the road trips, because you have time to bond and create relationships with everyone on the team.” Bilis has further plans after volleyball to travel.
Tori Bertsch from Post Falls, Idaho, will graduate with a Business degree. She plans to graduate and then attend grad school. She says that the win they had against number one seed Brownsville from Texas was one of her best memories. That match was played in the Butte tournament and was a huge underdog win for Rocky.
Brooke Myers from Cody, Wyo., also is in pursuit of a Biology degree. Her future plans consist of graduating and going to physician assistant school. Brooke said, “It is going to be pretty different without the seniors; they will be missed.” But she also thinks the rest of the team is ready to step up in the classroom and on the court.
Mariah Stiffarm is originally from Browning, Mont., She is getting her degree in Exercise Therapy and Pre Physical Therapy. She plans to pursue her career in her hometown. She said, “Competition in the NAIA is tough, so it will continue to push us to get better.”
Laurie Kelly, head coach of the Rocky Volleyball team, is proud of her team this last season and is looking forward to next year and to see progress throughout the off-season. She will now be accompanied by Yang Yang but in a different way this next season, coaching on the sideline. Yang is soon to graduate and will be an honorary player for the RMC volleyball team.
Whether these four key players are serving or spiking, they all play a major role for the team. The
rest of the players from this year, excluding the eight soon-to-graduate seniors, will continue to contribute to the team. The many underclassmen will be learning new roles and be quickly added to the lineup, including a University of Montana transfer Tess Hellered. The team will continue to stay hungry in pursuit of next season.