Rangers poised for first trip to Class A State Tournament in school history

The Hill City Rangers Volleyball Team is poised as it enters its first trip to Class A State Tournament in school history.

HILL CITY, S.D. —  They say that great things come with a little patience and hard work.

While some great things have already happened to the Hill City Volleyball Team this season, the players are striving for more.

After the Rangers lost in the So Dak 16 to Elk Point-Jefferson last season, they find themselves preparing for their first ever trip to the state tournament in school history.

But what did last years loss do for the Rangers this season?

“Certainly made us hungry to want to win it this year,” said Hill City Head Volleyball Coach Lindsy Wathen.

A team that relies on leadership, the Rangers graduated two seniors last year. This season, the team has five seniors who have been the backbone of the team’s success.

“They’ve done a great job of leading this team, staying positive, and setting really strong goals,” Wathen said. “Physically making the vision boards, things like that. They’ve been great leaders.”

As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds.

Coach Wathen knew that if the Rangers were going to compete in the big moments, the added pressure was only going to make them shine.

“It validates some of the little changes that we made to our practices and just trying to make sure that we had drills that put the girls in pressure situations,” Wathen said.

Those pressure situations only made the Rangers more confident when the game was on the line, and with a chance to go to the State Class A Tournament, they knew that the game against Clark-Willow lake was what they’ve been preparing for.

“We’d been to (the) So Dak (16) last year and coming in this year, we had already been there and we were more confident going into that game,” said Hailey Wathen, a Senior Outside Hitter.

“We didn’t want to lose again,” said Senior Libero Shalie Weaver. “Because we didn’t want to not go another step further this year.”

Although ready for the big moment and being apart of history, the team’s leaders know that it’s all about finishing strong with their teammates.

“I knew that we were going to have a really good team because we had most of our players from last year come back, so we were going to be stacked again,” said Dale Schrier, a Senior Middle Hitter. “I was just really excited.”

“I think that it’s a very important thing to be a part of this,” added Senior Right Hitter, Samantha Bambas. “It’s been really fun playing with my teammates and I’ve been working with all of them to get as far as we have been.

Categories: High School, Local News, South Dakota News, Sports