BILLINGS -- The Glendive volleyball team has been on a tear this season. The Red Devils have made their mark as one of the best teams in the Eastern A, even after a hiccup against Billings Central this last weekend – a team they’d already beaten once. But those games bring out the best in Glendive.
“Billings Central is a really, really good team, and I’ll give that to them,” Glendive senior middle blocker and setter Karsen Murphy said. “I know we are a good team, too, and we’re getting better. Billings Central has that competitiveness and drive that we really like competing with. I know competing against teams like them is only going to make us better.”
“It just really motivated us to push the top and it really helped us this year to just keep pushing,” Glendive senior outside hitter Meadow Torres said. “It really showed this year when we beat them the first time, which is going to help us in the state tournament, I think, because we know we can do it.”
“This is a really good match for us. We don’t get to play teams similar to Billings Central very much in the conference, and we’re clear over in the corner of the state, so Billings offers a lot more volleyball than we have. So yeah, they definitely bring a higher caliber of game when we play, for sure,” Glendive head coach Tiffaney Egan said.
Glendive returns a ton of pieces from a team that has made back-to-back trips to the State A tournament. The Red Devils haven’t won a match at the previous two state tournaments, but that could change in Bozeman next month.
“The state tournament last year and the year before gave us a lot of opportunity to learn,” Egan said. “I think they have a lot of thoughts and moments in hindsight of what they want to do different. This year they’re hungry.”
“Going there again last year and not winning, it really added fuel to the fire,” Murphy said. “My team has been working really hard this season and we know what we want to do and accomplish this year.”
Murphy and Torres will be big pieces to the puzzle for Glendive’s postseason run. Murphy is easily the most imposing figure on the Red Devils roster, but she’s been asked to do a bit of everything this year.
“It’s definitely a luxury, both Karsen and Meadow,” Egan said. “Karsen is a middle blocker, so we expect her to reach her max jump load pretty much every game and every practice, and then we expect her to run all over the court and set the ball. Especially when our defense is struggling, she does a really good job delivering the ball to our offense. It’s been really, really nice. She makes things look really easy.”
The Eastern A divisional tournament will be in Havre Nov. 7-9 and four teams will advance to the State A tournament in Bozeman the following weekend.