BOZEMAN – One constant throughout Montana’s 15 all-class state volleyball tournaments is Huntley Project. The Red Devils have never missed out on the trip to Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
They’re back once again and, maybe, better than ever.
“Winning is a big deal,” smiled Red Devils libero Maggie Taylor. “I enjoy it. It’s nice.”
Taylor would know. The all-state player and her teammates have won 63 consecutive matches. Not impressed? OK, how about the fact that they’ve lost just one set all season? To State A favorite Belgrade, which the Red Devils dispatched 3-1?
“Beating a team that’s higher than you is just an incredible feeling,” said outside hitter Josie Peterson. “You have to work so hard for those wins, and you just appreciate them a lot more.”
The Red Devils appreciate everything, because they work for everything, especially on Tuesdays. Head coach Iona Stookey calls her defensive drill day Terrific Tuesday. The players have a different name – Terrible Tuesday.
“Yes,” laughed outside hitter Mollee Krum, “and being a middle hitter, that is not my favorite thing.”
“Not being a back row player, it’s hard,” Peterson agreed.
But watch them play and you’ll see exactly why they do it.
“It does help us a ton,” admitted Krum. “It improves us a lot. You can see it in games, our defense is solid. It’s one of my favorite parts, watching our defense.”
“Being a defensive player is amazing,” said Taylor. “It never gets old. Everyone says the hit is the big deal, but digging up a big hitter is like, ‘Yeah, come at me again. Let’s go.'”
It’s a confidence Huntley Project players typically possess but without confusing it with cockiness.
“We might have that intimidation on the team, but you’ve got to be humble with it,” said Krum. “You can’t just be in there going, ‘We’re here now.’ You have to be humble.”
That blend has produced 10 state titles in 15 years. Those eyes are squarely set on No. 11 when the Red Devils walk in to the Fieldhouse on Thursday.