Hutchens filling in larger role
With six seniors graduating from the 2012 season, Dickinson High senior outside hitter Keely Hutchens was going to have to fill some big shoes.
She has been able to fill more shoes than one.
Hutchens is one of three players who — more or less — sees the court for the entire match for the Midgets.
“She’s on the floor for six rotations,” Dickinson head coach Jay Schobinger said. “She’s got to be well-rounded. She has to do everything from serve-receive, to play great defense, to be one of our go-to players offensively.”
However, the transition from role player to key player didn’t come easy.
“I knew it was going to be a lot of work and it was kind of hard the first couple of days,” Hutchens said with a smile. “After the first week or two, I kind of got a handle of it. I just had to get use to my new responsibilities.”
Schobinger added: “A lot of times Keely is her own worst critic. She gets a little frustrated sometimes, because she wants that kill every time she gets the ball. That’s just not the reality of things. She’s done a nice job of stepping up.”
Dickinson senior middle hitter Sierra Rohr — like Hutchens — doesn’t spend much time on the bench. The two are also warm-up partners before practice and games.
“Keely and I are really good friends and it’s awesome playing next to her,” Rohr said. “I know what she can do and I trust her a lot.”
At the beginning of the season, the Midgets fell on some tough times during West Region play. Dickinson lost its first four West Region games including back-to-back sweeps from Bismarck Century and Jamestown.
The Midgets have picked up the pace and at the most opportune time — the end of the season and West Region Tournament. Dickinson has rattled off back-to-back West Region wins over Mandan and Minot.
“(Senior season) has been fun,” Hutchens said. “There have been some ups and downs, but definitely more ups than downs.”
For the eight seniors on the Midgets’ roster, they will step on the volleyball court at DHS gymnasium for the final time at 7 p.m. today against Bismarck High.
“That last home game is always bittersweet,” Schobinger said. “The seniors have to deal with the emotion of the last home match and that’s always tough. You never know how they are going to handle it. Our kids have done a pretty good job with it over the years.”
Hutchens added: “It’s going to be weird, sad and scary. We are ready to come out and compete for all seniors that are having their last game at DHS.”