Region 7 teams get ready for districts
Knocking the Hazen volleyball team off its perch may be a difficult task. But at tournament time, as many coaches say, anything can happen. "A person always likes to see the underdog win," Dickinson Trinity coach Melini Grosulak said. "A lot of t...
Knocking the Hazen volleyball team off its perch may be a difficult task.
But at tournament time, as many coaches say, anything can happen.
"A person always likes to see the underdog win," Dickinson Trinity coach Melini Grosulak said. "A lot of times there are upsets in tournaments."
Trinity has the No. 2 seed for Monday's District 14 tournament at the Bison Sports Complex in Hazen. The host team is unbeaten against Class B opponents this season and enters the tournament with a 35-3 record. Its only losses came to Billings (Mont.) West, Bismarck Century and Dickinson High in the Dickinson Invitational last month.
"We've really started playing more-focused offense more intensely," Hazen coach Linette Irwin said. "From the Dickinson tournament, it's built from there."
Hazen went through district play, rather easily. Other than a 3-1 win over Killdeer, the Bison swept every district match.
"We do know that we have to come out and play tough defense and focus," Irwin said. "Those things can happen."
The game loss to Killdeer acts as a reminder to Irwin and her girls that things can change quickly and that upsets do happen.
"I would say any one of them could do that," Irwin said. "That's why we have to be more focused and make sure we're taking care of the ball, limiting our errors and playing up to the level we know we can."
For Trinity, it's a much different role than it saw itself in last year. The Titans downed Hazen in last year's district title match as well as in the Region 7 championship match on their way to state runner-up honors.
"I think if we play to our capabilities, we have a really good chance, especially in the first round," Grosulak said. "We'll see what happens from there."
Bucs begin quest for tournament title
The past two District 13 tournaments haven't been kind to the top seed.
Two years ago, New England entered as the top team in the regular season, only to be upset by Bowman County in the title match. Last season, Beach swept through the regular season, but failed to win the championship, falling to New England.
This year, Beach coach Allison Skari said she feels confident in her team's chances. The tournament starts today in Beach.
"I feel like everything's put together," Skari said. "We've been practicing pretty hard. I think they're ready and I think they're confident enough in how they're playing."
But that doesn't mean Skari or her team are ready to take anyone lightly.
"They always step up at tournament time," Skari said of the teams in her district. "I think other teams are going into this thinking they don't have anything to lose. I'm hoping we're strong enough this year to close out games and get good starts."
Beach enters with a record of 32-1-2. The Bucs' only loss came to Dickinson Trinity.
"That was only our second game of the season," Skari said. "We had lost some all-district girls (from last year) and other girls had to step up. We had to learn how to get over that loss."
It's either that or a mental thing, Skari said.
"Something about them, I think that red color throws us off," Skari said.
Beach doesn't have to worry about Trinity until the Region 7 tournament, which is in Bowman. For now, the Bucs are focused on winning that elusive district title and becoming the first District 13 team to sweep both the regular-season and tournament titles since New England did it three years ago.
"My girls haven't really had that taste of loss and that makes it tricky in itself," Skari said. "Overconfidence can kill a team. I feel like that's what happened to us last year. I'm hoping we learned from that and can get it done this year."