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Schobingers building family bond

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High head volleyball coach Jay Schobinger, left, stands with his daughter the Midgets’ starting setter Madison before practice on Tuesday at DHS gymnasium.

By Royal McGregor

Ask any player on the Dickinson High volleyball team if Madison Schobinger receives special treatment — including Schobinger herself.

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The answer is a unanimous “No.”

In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

The reason is Jay Schobinger — Madison’s father — is the Midgets’ head coach.

“We just know each so well and he knows what to expect from me,” said Madison Schobinger, the Midgets’ senior setter. “Sometimes when I don’t give a full effort, I get it a little harder than everybody else.”

Jay said his daughter has to continually prove herself.

“She has definitely not received any favoritism,” said Jay, who added his daughter can bear just as much coaching criticism as any other player. “Number one, I know she can deal with it and I know she can handle it. Number two, you have to make sure you aren’t playing favorites. It’s tough, but it has been special.”

Despite being reprimanded at practice and during games, Madison wouldn’t trade her time on the court with her father for anything. She is grateful and proud to be coached by her father, who won back-to-back North Dakota Class A state volleyball titles in 2005 and 2006 and has been at the helm of competitive teams many years before that and since.

“At the beginning it was kind of tough, but it has been a really good experience,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun and I think it has brought us a lot closer.”

Before coaching his daughter, Jay said he sought the advice of coaches who previously coached their sons or daughters. He said the biggest piece of information he remembered came from former Bismarck Century head volleyball coach Linette Olson.

“I can go back and thank a lot of former coaches for their advice,” Jay said. “I took a lot of what they said. I remember Linette saying, ‘You don’t want to discuss volleyball at home.’ We have seldom discussed volleyball at home.”

If the Schobingers do discuss volleyball at home, the talk is quick, brief and about general points.

“We more or less just talk general stuff,” Jay said. “I won’t allow it with any kid to talk about anybody else. When we go home we might talk about the night’s match, but it is done and over with.”

Madison added: “We talk about playing in college and that type of stuff.”

Madison began playing at the varsity level during her junior year. She was the backup setter as the starting job was then held by Ali Moody, now a freshman setter for North Dakota State.

However, this season Madison has taken on the starting role and doesn’t want her final high school season to end.

The Midgets travel to the West Region Tournament beginning at 3 p.m. today in Jamestown with hopes of extending the season. Dickinson, the No. 5 seed, opens the tournament against the No. 4 seed Bismarck High.

“It definitely pushes me harder, because I want to prolong the season and I want us to go state,” Madison said. “It helps push me, so I can have those extra few weeks with him, because it is going to end soon.”

Dickinson has proven it can play with the top teams in the state. However, it hasn’t always been on a consistent basis.

Regardless, the Midgets said they have the utmost confidence the team can make noise at the West Region Tournament.

“If we can keep up our level of intensity, we’ll do well,” Dickinson senior Mariah Jorda said. “I think we are going to surprise a lot of people.”