BOZEMAN — No stranger to winning, it should be no surprise that the Bozeman Gallatin Raptors volleyball program is off to a 14-3 start to their season under new head coach, Erika Gustavsen.
The last time we saw Gustavsen on the court coaching was at the end of the 2020-21 season when she was at the helm of the Bozeman High girls basketball program, a program that she won a state title with in 2016. She’s now trying to instill in her team and it seems to be working.
“Winning is a mentality and I think that's exciting to kind of see the growth,” Gustavsen said.
For junior Karsen Breeding, she’s seen firsthand on the court what a winning mentality does for a program that is only three years into its existence. Since Gustavsen arrived the team has their sights on not just improvement but performing at the Class AA state tournament.
“After the first couple of wins, I feel like it's really been going and now that we're finally playing our conference, it's super exciting to see how we match up against all the teams we've been talking about all summer,”
For Gustavsen, after a year away to attend to her family and missing the court, coming back still wasn’t an easy decision either, now having to balance a job, family and her passion for coaching.
“It's not easy,” Gustavsen admitted. “I think it's a lot to be teaching full-time and wanting to be a mom for two young kids and a wife and a coach.”
If there were ever a cure for the stresses of juggling life’s challenges as a coach, mother and full-time teacher, winning sure helps.
“I think that's something that's really important to us, is to teach them that kind of confidence to win and to expect to win,” Gustavsen said.
Currently the Raptors are fourth in a ultra-competitive Eastern AA conference.