Monday marks day one in the volleyball gym for programs across North Dakota, but Linton-HMB’s team has spent the last nine months thinking about the number two. A chance to win their program’s second-ever title, and make it back-to-back trophies.
“Yeah we want to get back to state and show teams that it wasn’t a fluke and that we’re here to win,” senior Callie Hase said.
The Lions are a real threat to repeat after graduating just one starter and bringing back a core of four seniors.
“Even coming here to practice I can see that they’ve played for me, they know the rules,” head coach Jaime Richter said. “They’re really smart volleyball players, so for me I don’t have to teach them as much as a normal year.”
This team’s experience is second to none with a roster of players that have all played minutes in big game situations, including a championship.
“I think we could take any girl off the bench and she’d do amazing,” senior Kimberly Gefroh said. “If someone gets hurt they can step up, they can be good. I think that’s probably one of our main strengths.”
While the Lions have a lot of strengths, they know playing with a target on their backs won’t be easy.
“We’re all gradually improving,” Hase explained. “I just started libero, Jaycee just started hitting, so we’re just getting better at our positions, and we know what we need to work on from last year.”
The focus is the same, and the Lions plan on playing their same game in hopes of returning to the big stage.
“We know our goal again is to get to the state tournament, possibly a state championship, but we’re not going to look into that,” Richter said. “We’re going to make ourselves each day and every day better, but we’re going to enjoy the memories along the way.”
The Lions open their season at Northern Cass’ opening tournament on August 28.