DHS seniors grew careers togetherThe six seniors on Dickinson High volleyball team have had their sights set on this weekend since they were pre-teens just learning how to pass, set and spike.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The six seniors on Dickinson High volleyball team have had their sights set on this weekend since they were pre-teens just learning how to pass, set and spike.
“Since we were little, we’ve been like, ‘Oh, we’re going to be so good, we’re going to win the state championship,’” Ali Moody said with a laugh echoed by her five senior teammates.
Moody’s memories may have induced laughter, but the Midgets are very serious about winning a state title — and they’re out to prove it this weekend.
Dickinson, the No. 3 seed out of the West Region, faces East Region runner-up Fargo Shanley at 7 p.m. today in the Class A state tournament quarterfinals at the Minot State Dome.
Led by a half-dozen seniors who grew up learning the game together and finding success almost everywhere they went, the Midgets — led by Moody, a North Dakota State-bound setter, and overpowering outside hitter Abby Grove — are a team that could very well be playing for a state title on Saturday night.
“This team can compete with anybody in our state,” Dickinson head coach Jay Schobinger said. “It’s just a matter of, ‘let’s put it together.’ They’ve met expectations and they have an opportunity to achieve the ultimate goal. We’re going to see what happens, take it one game at a time and we’ll go from there.”
The state tournament is the last hurrah for a group of girls who have spent lots of time together on volleyball courts and found a nice amount of success in that time.
They’ve trained together in the offseason and grew up playing in summer tournaments and Junior Olympics events.
“We just all get along so good,” senior outside hitter Hannah Beaudoin said.
That experience, they say, helped them build chemistry at an early age.
“We’ve all learned how to play with each other, how to pick each other up,” senior libero Jess Priebe said.
Moody and middle hitters Taylor Cooper and Rachel Schroeder were brought up to the varsity level early. Schroeder leads the team with 65 solo blocks, while her and Cooper combine for 297 kills.
Grove joined the fray midway through her junior season and has an astounding 395 kills as a senior. Priebe and Beaudoin have seen the bulk of their time this season.
The girls said one of the biggest reasons for the consistent success throughout their careers has been the ability to have Moody at setter throughout their careers.
A volleyball team’s setter is a lot like a quarterback on a football team, coaches say. In the Midgets’ case, they have had same quarterback passing the ball since junior high and it has led to success.
“Ali knows, as a setter, what each hitter likes differently,” Cooper said.
This season, Moody has delegated some setting duties to junior Madison Schobinger in the team’s 6-2 rotation which has allowed the 6-foot-1 senior to help Dickinson with her strong attacking ability. Still, she leads the Midgets with 725 assists (about 20 per match), 305 digs, 96 aces and is second in kills with 201.
“She knows how I like the ball,” Grove said.
The Midgets are 26-10 this season and have had some ups and downs. They split with West Region champion Bismarck Century and West runner-up Jamestown in the regular season. They defeated Shanley at the East-West Tournament on the opening weekend of the year.
Putting its game together at tournament time is a trait this team believes is one of its strong suits.
“We’ve seen a lot of different teams,” Schroeder said. “We know who we have to look out for, we know what we have to concentrate on and get the little things done. We know what we have to do.”