The Billings West volleyball team has been playing predominantly freshmen in its rotation this season – four of them to be exact. The Golden Bears have needed them, too.
“They’ve grown a bunch. We’ve got to rely on them quite a bit in some situations. Having a 6-(foot)-3 middle, she’s been huge, especially blocking lately. She’s kind of coming along on that block and it’s been super helpful for us," said head coach Monica Grimsrud.
“I feel like we’ve just made so much progress with being confident and being able to play up to our potential," said freshman middle blocker Sydney Pierce. "I think just being aggressive, serving well and hitting well has really made us become the players we could potentially be over the next four years.”
Speaking of the next four years, Grimsrud things this freshman class has the potential to be a truly special bunch.
“Capital’s three seniors, they were all freshmen on varsity. Look what they’ve done," she said. "I think I’ve got four on varsity right now, I think their potential is that plus more. It’s not just these four that are talented. There are a lot of talented girls in their class. We had 36 girls that were freshmen in the program this year. Thirty-six of the 53 were freshmen.”
One thing those freshmen aren’t familiar with is the all-class state volleyball tournaments in Bozeman that have been nixed due to the coronavirus pandemic. That just means that West gets to play some of its postseason volleyball in the Golden Dome, albeit without the raucous state volleyball crowds that pack Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
“That might actually be kind of an advantage for us, is not relying on that big environment and all that energy and stuff. It is going to be weird. It’s a bummer that we don’t get to experience that this year," Grimsrud said.
“Because we don’t have a lot of spectators, I think just us creating our own energy. We can’t rely on the crowd or other people to make our own energy," Pierce said. "If we’re down, we just have to say, ‘We’re going to get this next point and we’re going to have a ton of energy and have fun.’”
Keep an eye on this star-studded freshman class at Billings West. They’re going to make some noise.