Nighthawks look to take flight under new leadership
Hettinger-Scranton welcomes new volleyball coach, Reba Resner
HETTINGER — After fighting through a relatively balanced season of wins and losses last year, the Region 7 Hettinger-Scranton Nighthawks have welcomed a new girls volleyball coach, Reba Resner to steer the team. The girls closed their 2021 season with an overall record of 17-13 and a Region record of 6-5, placing 4th in the Region tournament.
Resner took over for former head coach Jon Kohler who retired at the conclusion of the season last year. Born and raised in Hettinger, Resner actually played as a right side/middle hitter for Kohler when she was in high school.
Prior to accepting the head coach position, she worked as an assistant volleyball coach for eight years, commuting to Hettinger multiple days a week from Dickinson. In addition to coaching volleyball, Resner is a high school gym teacher.
Working alongside her this season are assistant coaches Bethany Erickson and Katrina Johnson, who are two of Resner’s best friends.
For Resner, coaching is a passion because it’s a great way for her to stay involved in her favorite sport. She is committed to teaching her athletes the technical and fundamental skills of volleyball.
“The girls keep me on my toes,” Resner said.
Since last year, the Nighthawks have lost senior team leader and middle hitter Bailee Pierce, who was also a Hettinger-Scranton basketball star. Her absence has had a tough impact on the team.
“This year you can tell the leadership on the court is missing, but my three seniors have stepped up into that role,” Resner said. “They have really filled the void that she left.”
Also absent from the roster this year are graduated seniors Madison Wilson (setter), Anna Havelka (right side) and Cassie Kindsfater (left side).
Senior team captains Ella Jensen (libero), Jozee Erickson (opposite middle hitter) and Allyson Schalesky (middle hitter) have a new weight of responsibility on their shoulders, but they have adjusted quickly under pressure. In just five games this season, Jensen has already recorded 1,000 digs. She was also a 2021 All-Region selection.
Junior outside hitter Avery Sanford and sophomore outside hitter Sophia Kennedy are fresh on the court this year after serving as varsity bench players last year. Resner says they are getting in significant time and reps this season and have made a smooth transition to the faster pace of the game.
The Nighthawks roster consists heavily of returning sophomores and juniors including junior defensive specialist Olivia DeFoe, junior middle hitter Vanessa Oase, sophomore setter Chloe Geaumont and several others. Resner expects Jensen, DeFoe and Sienna Burwick to carry the team on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, Schalesky and Ella Jensen’s sister, Laela Jenson will be the Hawk’s biggest threats. Resner says her teams dynamic and communication is one of their strong traits.
“One goal that we set pretty early this season that I think is a huge key to volleyball, is having a high serve percentage,” Resner said. “Every game we want at least a 90% serve percentage. We also want to move around the placement on the ball and not hit in the same place every time.”
As of September 14, the Nighthawks have a 2-5 overall record.
“We want the region championship to go to state,” Resner said. “Our biggest thing is to take it one game at a time.”