Titans jumping for improvements
After the first week of the season, the Dickinson Trinity volleyball team has a 4-3 record that includes a fourth-place finish at the Coal Country Invitational last Saturday.
Rayma Braaten, Trinity's third-year head coach, sees the potential for a big season every day.
In turn, the Titans are continually improving to become a well-rounded team in their attempt to make a return trip to the Class B state tournament.
"This team has so much potential," Braaten said. "We are working on improving on our flaws, but once we get it together, this team will be really strong."
So far this season, sophomore Kennedy Keator leads the Titans with 34 kills. She also has 12 aces. Seniors Katelyn Grinsteinner and Gretchen Weir each have 30 kills.
Trinity senior Katelyn Rummel has a team-high 49 digs and senior Jillian Stockert notched 39 digs. Junior Katie Dockter has dished out 83 assists.
Rummel, who is the Titans' libero, said the team has been able to learn from its early season mistakes.
"We've been playing really well as a team, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement," Rummel said. "We're definitely not at our full potential yet, because it's still early in the season, but we're really excited to get up there and get going."
The Titans host Region 7 opponent Bowman County at 6:30 p.m. today at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Braaten said playing at home can be either good or nerve-wracking.
"Playing at home goes a little both ways," Braaten said. "The girls are nervous, because they are playing at home and they want to do well, but overall playing at home works in your favor."
With five seniors on the team, Rummel said the upperclassmen have been helping the underclassmen.
"Our seniors are doing a really good job this year of showing the young girls the ropes of playing on varsity and how we need to work to get better," Rummel said.
However the Titans' main goal remains to win back-to-back Region 7 championships and return to the Class B state tournament.
"We lost some really good people on our team from last year that helped to get us where we were," Rummel said. "This year, we have some younger girls who are stepping up and we're excited. We're hoping to get where we were last year."
Cowboys' offense making big impact early
The No. 4-ranked Killdeer football team went away from running the power-I offense to using its speed in the spread this season.
Cowboys head coach Lou Dobitz has been impressed with how quickly the offense is coming along.
Not only is the offense working, Killdeer is having no trouble scoring points. Throughout the first two games of the season, Killdeer is averaging 46 points per game while allowing 17.5.
"In a way, I'm sort of surprised with the way we've been able to gel being that we've put in a new offense," Dobitz said. "I'm really happy that we've been able to do so well. I was expecting us to play good defense and I guess I didn't really know what to expect on offense."
In the backfield, juniors Trenton Rohr and Lewis Dobitz are sharing time at quarterback. Rohr leads the Cowboys' offense with six touchdowns, while Dobitz has two rushing TDs and one passing TD.
Though it's the early stages of the season, Killdeer hosts Class 1A, Region 4 opponent New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin at 7 p.m. Friday. Lou Dobitz said the game could have playoff implications down the road.
"They have a good tradition and they are well coached," he said. "I told the kids how big of a game this is. This is a region play and we want to take one game at a time."
Raiders prepares for key 9-man matchup with Beach
Richardton-Taylor-Hebron played 11-man football the previous two seasons before moving back to 9-man this fall.
Though the Raiders hadn't played the 9-man game in three years, the team isn't having trouble putting wins on the board. RTH has started with a 2-1 record and head coach Travis Olson said a Region 4 game against Beach at 7 p.m. Friday could be a deciding factor on playoff position. The Buccaneers also have a 2-1 record.
"This is going to a big test for us on Friday because Beach is a big physical team with some very good players," Olson said. "This is going to be a pivotal game. It's one of those games where are you going to be on the top half or the bottom half (of the standings)."
The Raiders have wins over Mott-Regent and Center-Stanton, which are both Region 4 teams. RTH's lone loss on the season came against Shiloh Christian.
Olson is pleased with how well his team has been able to come together in the early parts of the season.
"It's about what we expected out of this team right at this point," Olson said. "We thought we had some good, young talent. It's young and it's going to take some time to mature. We're seeing some good and bad things in every game. We have a lot of room to grow."