GREAT FALLS — CMR volleyball is having one of its best seasons in recent memory. The Rustlers are 18-1, and 8-0 in the Eastern AA. It’s the kind of stuff CMR hasn’t experienced since winning back-to-back state championships in 1999 and 2000. The possibilities are certainly exciting, but head coach Patrick Hiller describes his team another way.
"They’re kind of boring sometimes, in the sense that everybody is just doing their job this year," Hiller said. "I wouldn’t say that anyone has really had a bad practice. It’s not like they have bad practices. They may have bad moments in practices. We’re just asking each girl to make the next ball better."
This team revolves around senior Allie Olsen. The University of Utah commit is one of the best players in the state, and has a chance to leave a lasting impact on CMR.
“I don’t think it’s lost on Allie, even for a moment, how much different the program is and what she can leave," Hiller said. "That cliche thing, that legacy thing of ‘Who got CMR turned the right direction?’ Well, a lot of it had to do with Allie Olsen.”
Olsen has seen dramatic change in the program through her career, it means a lot to her to see it paying off.
“It’s really fun to do it with this group of girls," Olsen said. "They’re really family to me and I’m really enjoying it.”
Olsen agreed with her coach, noting her teammates are just players coming to work everyday.
“We’re a really mellow team," Olsen said. "We don’t really look like we should be 8-0, but somehow we all work together super well and work hard at practice, so it’s super fun.”
But Olsen is one of just two seniors on the team, meaning there’s plenty of talented Rustlers around the court for the future, and this year, they’ve each taken turns being the leader. Sophomore setter Tennisen Hiller said behind Olsen's dominance, everyone has a chance to shine.
"Allie obviously brings her senior leadership, and her huge presence to the team, but I think each of us brings our own kind of culture and livens up the team a little bit," Tennisen Hiller said.
CMR can seal the Eastern AA title this weekend with matches against Bozeman and Billings West, but a trophy at state is the ultimate prize.
"We have definitely exceeded our expectations, but I don’t think we’re ready to stop," Tennisen Hiller said.