BELT — The volleyball team in Belt has been making program history the past few years, winning its first two state titles. Overall, the Huskies have played in four consecutive Class C state championship matches. The team is solid again this year, but that continuity isn’t as easy as it looks for the Huskies.
Head coach Christine Gondeiro said she's told her team, "It’s not going to be easy. It’s not a given. Everybody wants to beat you."
The Huskies return nine seniors from the team that won state last year. So naturally, expectations are higher than ever. Gondeiro said the squad has to work hard to not get ahead of themselves.
"Every person and every group is different, and that’s still the case here. That’s what we’ve been working on figuring out," Gondeiro said. "Nine seniors, everyone has a role, and what their individual strengths are and their weaknesses are and what they’re going to bring to the team."
She says one thing that’s happened this year that should help her team is losing. The Huskies have dropped early season matches to Roy-Winifred and North Star in showcase tournaments, giving this group some valuable lessons.
"Losing some showcase games kind of helped a little bit," Gondeiro said. "Since they’ve been freshmen, they’ve never not known getting to the state tournament and playing on Saturday night. It was almost like a reminder of what you have to do to get back there this season."
Senior Kolby Pimperton has been the starting setter since her sophomore year, and she agrees a couple of losses should be beneficial, because occasionally the team’s focus can drift.
"I think it starts in practice. We’ve all got to be really serious in practice," Pimperton said. "Sometimes we get goofy and things get out of control, but as long as things stay serious, it works."
Plus, having a roster loaded with so many seniors can be a double-edged sword.
"We butt heads on the court but we get over it real fast," Pimperton said. "We’re going through it. We all want to be leaders and be the top on the floor, but we’ve all just got to mesh together better."
If the Huskies can mesh, Saturday night at state should be circled on their calendar.