BUTTE — For the first time in 16 seasons, a new face is roaming the sidelines as head coach for Lewistown’s volleyball team. New coach Adrienna DeCock got her coaching start under her former mentor, a familiar name to Montana volleyball fans, Huntley Project’s Iona Stookey.
“It was really cool to learn the side of the game I didn’t understand when I was playing, from the coaching perspective. And there was really nobody better to learn from than (Stookey),” DeCock said.
For those in the Lewistown program who played under former coach Tara Taylor, the shift to DeCock has brought with it some changes. But one thing she’s brought in is an aura of confidence.
“I told the girls from Day 1 that I have the same goals as (Taylor). The path to get there might look a little bit different, but I’m really trying to embrace everything that she did and continue on with that moving forward,” DeCock said.
“I feel like her confidence: We build off of each other, so when someone’s not having a good time, we use them and build each other up, and I think that’s what has helped us to be successful,” senior Anna Zimmer said.
Although it’s DeCock’s first season as the head coach at Lewistown, she knows the program’s rich tradition and doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.
“My goal is to always be at the state tournament. We’ve always been there. A couple of years ago we didn’t make it, and that was hard. So that’s our expectation, we’re always going to get back there,” said DeCock.
If Lewistown is to make it through the Eastern A super-divisional tournament, it will need star senior Anna Zimmer and her sophomore sister, Kylie, to carry the Eagles. Two of Class A’s top all-around athletes, the sisters have formed a dynamic duo up front for Lewistown.
“I love to play with my sister,” Anna said. “It excites me that I get to help her learn how to be a better player, and having the opportunity to play with her builds me up. I think we have the sister bond. We can read each other’s mind and we just go with the flow.”
“It’s amazing what those two can do together that some of the other girls don’t quite have when they’re matched up with them,” DeCock said. “They just know where each other is at, and they’ve played together for so many years. I think that’s one of our big advantages is having them together.”
Lewistown begins the Eastern A divisional tournament on Thursday afternoon in Glendive, taking on the host Red Devils at 1:30 p.m.