Skyline volleyball team focusing on one point at a timeNov 02, 2021 11:55AM ● By Daniel Olsen
By Daniel Olsen | [email protected]
The Skyline High volleyball team were able to extend their record to 23-2 and have clinched the outright region title. Their only losses throughout the season were to Copper Hills and Sky View (Idaho).
The Eagles won their senior night game on Oct. 14. That win over Park City was a memorable one for the girls who have dedicated much time to the sport. They will conclude their regular season against Murray and then get ready for the state tournament, which will take place in a couple weeks.
“We have a setter named Mia Liddiard who is headed to the University of Northern Colorado,” coach Mondo Begay said. “Olivia Gloeckner is also going to Idaho University in Moscow. Bree Schriever is our outside hitter who is getting offers.”
“Our biggest obstacle is figuring out who gets to play,” Begay said. “We are competing every day in the gym because we are deep. We are finding out who’s going to compete. Depth is our biggest obstacle. They all want to play but they have to compete to earn it. There may be hurt feelings cause people want to play. They know they have to come to practice and work. It’s an obstacle but a blessing. We have 14 girls that can be on the court at any time. Our roster has 10 seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.”
Despite the competitive nature of the team, they remain close knit in their goal to win a state title, an honor that they have come close to in the past.
“Our girls are good friends but have to compete against each other,” Begay said. “There are no hard feelings. I tell them to get in and work and the best kids will play. I’m in my fifth year and we are trying to establish a culture. We only practice twice a week and then play two matches. We tell them to work on the fifth day on their own.”
What does the team do on Fridays with no practice? How has this unique approached helped the team be so successful?
“We tell them to go be kids,” Begay said. “We want them to enjoy their high school years because they go fast. They get Friday off to be kids and go to the football game. This is so rewarding for them and me.”
There is still work involved, and the coaching staff works as a cohesive unit to prepare to put out a great product on match day.
“There is a lot of planning that goes into it,” Begay said. “Our assistant coach Chris is a stat man. It’s awesome to have a coach that can show that numbers run and not emotion. We play a numbers game. It’s amazing to have a great assistant coach. Krista is our ‘mom coach’ who works with girls and is their calming factor. We have a good coaches culture and it is just good. Culture is huge.”
This new philosophy that highlights more rest has helped the girls actually enjoy practice.
“Sometimes we forget as coaches that kids like to be with their friends,” Begay said. “Let’s work together. Kids love to come to the gym and they love practice now. When I was in high school we used to hate practice.”
While practice makes perfect, some rest time has helped the Eagles be as close to perfect as possible. While it may seem contrary to popular belief, this coaching staff has proved doubters wrong as they approach the state meet.
“It will be exciting to find out who we will match up with at state,” Begay said. “We go one point at a time. We already won the region title. We can’t look past any team. We can’t look at all 25 points. We just focus on one point at a time. That’s easier to process. Just win the next point. So what if we lose one point? Focus on one point. This ball that’s coming to them right now is what they need to focus on.”
In addition to the coaches and parents, others have done their part to make this a successful experience for the team.
“It’s nice to have an administration that is really supportive of girls’ sports,'' Begay said. “I’ve been here for five years and this administration has been amazing. I’m really appreciative of the principal and athletic director and everyone in their support of our team.”