After the Whistle: Minot Volleyball sees a playoff push in this second-half stretch of the season

After The Whistle

It’s been nearly 15 years since the Minot high volleyball team won the WDA championship. With two and a half weeks left before the west region tournament, it’s crunch time for the Majettes.

“Of those returning, maybe four of them played varsity,” says head coach Sherry Carlson. “We have more that have not played varsity than that did last year.”

The Majettes are working with a relatively young team with girls having more JV minutes than varsity. One of the biggest challenges this season has been getting them more comfortable playing at a higher level.

“Definitely quicker pace the hitters are definitely stronger,” says OH Mariah Evenson. “The blockers the bigger the defense moves quicker it’s definitely just fast-paced.”

“Nobody seems to really keep track of what the JV does,” says Carlson. “But everybody keeps track of what the varsity does. So that comes with the territory.”

“Definitely the intensity of the game and the level of play,” says S Cambry Frantsvog. “Varsity’s just a lot faster than JV. It’s a lot more intense like the games are a lot closer so just high level of competition.”

Carlson is in her sixth year as head coach. She says another area these girls have struggled with on the court is communication.

“We go through little droughts on the court where we are communicating and that causes the ball to drop,” says Frantsvog.

And working hard the entire game is key.

“It’s definitely those like longer rallies when we are getting tired and it seems like a lot of teams like sub in really quick,” says Evenson. “And we’ve got new people coming in and we just have to get those we are trying to cut down our runs and that’s one of the biggest things.”

“I think our biggest problem is finishing,” says Frantsvog. “We have some really close sets and it just comes down to the last two points we struggle finishing and putting away the ball.”

If they’re down or lose a set, Carlson makes sure to take full advantage of the timeout to get them fired up and back in the game.

“She thinks mindset plays a big role,” says Evenson. “And I think a lot of us agree with that and that’s what she likes us to focus on.”

“I think she’s very relaxed she likes to give us all a chance and if we make an error she’s very compassionate about it I guess,” says Frantzvog. “She lets us make errors and she’ll correct us on those but she’s not very stern about it she’s not mean.”

“We just have to focus on the next play,” says Carlson. “We can’t worry about if it’s a point away or two points away. We just have to have a one at a time what are we going to do with the ball the next time we get it and what kind of offense we are going to run.”

But, as she puts it, one of their greatest strengths is how they come together on the court.

“We are at a point right now where we are seeing that just come alive,” says Carlson. “The ones that haven’t have learned to be more aggressive and more sure of themselves. We have a lot of good things going on right now.”

“I think we are setting up a pretty quick offense when we aren’t struggling as I would say,” says Frantsvog. “Like our service team has been doing really, well our defense has been improving a lot and that will cause our hitters and attackers to put the ball away and do better so I think we’ve been pretty good there.”

“I think our defense is playing at a very high level,” says Carlson. “We have been playing games in the WDA and usually we have struggled just to get the pass, to be able to start the offense and I feel very secure in our defense. It all starts there and they have just given us so many options to swing at the ball.”

Part of that success is a new motto Carlson came up with F-A-F.

“Focus, aggression and fun,” says Frantsvog. “So, if we lose our focus, we lose our aggression and fun so basically she just reminds us of that saying that we need to stay aggressive out there and when we are doing that when we’re putting everything together on the court we are having fun and that’s going to lead us to more wins.”

And with the postseason in the not too distant future, they know they’re going to have to leave it all on the court every single night.

“We just have to focus on the match that we were given that night,” says Carlson. “Not worry so much about the outcome and just play our game.”

“Right now, we’re just trying to take a game by game and focus on that,” says Frantsvog.

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