HELENA — Helena High’s volleyball team wrapped the regular season undefeated in conference play for the first time in over a decade (2009) and for the first time under head coach Lindsay Day, who took over the head coaching position in 2016.
Day says the difference between this team and the ones in years past comes down to her six seniors: Morin Blaise, Alex Bullock, Lauren Heuiser, Emma Stilson, Kim Feller and Danee Lieberg.
“I have great leadership, six solid seniors that all contribute and had a great offseason and have really committed to the program, and then it's paying off,” the head coach said.
“Us seniors, our chemistry, we've been playing for four years all together now. And I think just our bond is just unbreakable this year, like, no drama, no nothing. I think our friendship is like the biggest thing right now with this team,” said Stilson, a senior outside hitter.
Day said that their undefeated conference record was never a focus, but certainly helped her girls’ confidence.
“We never talked about going undefeated in conference play. It was always just about development and growth within the team and they just focused on that growth and that development and trusted that process and then accomplished something pretty awesome,” Day said.
Their undefeated season earned them the number one seed in this week’s Western AA divisional tournament. Though they haven’t lost to any of the teams on their hopeful way to the state tournament, Day says there’s not a single team the Bengals can overlook.
“The girls are playing very confidently and we found a way to win on some pretty off nights even during conference play. So going in, that gives us that extra confidence to know that even on an off night, we're gonna find a way. So I think all of the experiences built up to prepare us for this divisional tournament and we're feeling very excited and just ready to roll on Thursday,” she said.
Day expects teams to have their best games against them throughout divisionals, but her message to her girls coming into tournament play has been all about mentality.
“Volleyball is a mental game, and it's who makes the most errors. We need to be the team that's disciplined and who is not making the most errors,” Stilson said.
The Western AA divisional tournament begins Thursday in Missoula. The championship will be held on Saturday. The Bengals' first opponent will be Butte High.