Entering her fourth season, Jennifer Holecek and the Bowman County Bulldog volleyball team is coming off perhaps the most successful seasons in program history, when the team took second place at the Region 7 tournament.
By Cole Benz
For The Pioneer
There are 24 girls, grades nine through 12, out for the 2019 team that features six seniors with an incoming class of eight freshmen. The lady Dawgs graduated four from from last year’s team.
Practices began Aug. 19, and Holecek said early practices went well.
“Really good,” she said. “I can’t complain.”
Her 2018 team’s focus and hard work has carried over to this year, Holecek said.
“Our girls work really hard, and I think they’re very focused,” Holocek told the Pioneer.
Fundamentals are always on her team’s mind, but what Holecek point out was that her team, and team from last year, really pays a lot of attention to unity.
“The girls always call themselves a family,” she said. “That’s always kind of what they wanted for their team, is to have a sense of family.”
This is something they’ve continued from last year.
Something she’s looking for this year is for the seniors to step into a leadership role. They lost some heavy-hitting seniors from last year, including Ellie Stafford, who’s playing volleyball at the collegiate level this year. This is something she thinks her team will learn as the season goes on.
“Those have been some of the focuses of what we lost when we graduated our seniors,” Holecek said.
She thinks that the team this year is a little bit more balanced on the offensive side of the ball.
“We’ve got a lot of people hitting from every position,” Holocek said. “So that should really make other defenses have to work harder against us.”
Holocek likes to bring analytics as part of her preparation routine for her squad. Every Wednesday they have stat day when they look at their statistics and try to look at trends as they prepare for games.
“If I have a gut feeling about somebody,” she said. “I usually like to try to make sure I’ve got it backed up with facts.”
After their second-place finish in the regional tournament, they’re looking forward to what this year has in store for the team.
“We’re all excited about our season,” she said. “The six [seniors] we have coming in are hungry, they’re really looking to lead well…I guess we feel our future is pretty bright this season.”