Buffs open at NBH Invite

by marlys good

The last two weeks have been hectic on the GHS volleyball court. With 34 girls vying for starting positions and playing time at both the varsity and junior varsity levels, Coach Sara Schlattmann said, “It can be a bit crazy at times. All of the girls have been working very hard. I will be hard to narrow it down.”

Among the talented seniors vying for starting positions is Brett Stephens, a “floor leader,” named to the 2013 all-conference team. “She will have an even bigger role this year,” predicted Schlattmann.

The coaches have been focusing on the basics of passing and serving because “this early in the season we have many areas that need improvement.”

The varsity opens action at the North Big Horn Invitational in Lovell Friday. “I anticipate taking about 10 varsity players but I haven’t determined that quite yet,” she said.

The Buffs join Kemmerer, Lovell and Meeteetse in Pool A with Cody, Burlington, Rocky Mountain and Wind River sharing Pool B. Teams will be seeded into Saturday’s bracketed tournament from scores in pool play.

“The Lovell tournament is good because it kind of gives us a sense of our strengths and weaknesses,” Schlattmann said.

“Our biggest strengths right now are effort and attitude. It has been exciting to watch the girls really play for each other and yet remain competitive. Many of the drills we do are competitive so it gives the girls a little extra incentive to focus and finish strong.”

Schlattmann has three weeks to fine-tune the team for the conference opener versus Shoshoni Sept. 19. The Lady Blues have moved from “south” to “north” in the 2A West, taking the place vacated by Lovell when the Bulldogs moved up to 3A.

“I think Shoshoni will certainly be tough,” said the coach. “They return a lot of starters from last year’s team that nearly won a state title, so I look for them to be a team to beat. I don’t think you can count any one of the teams in the conference out. Each has some strong talented returning players, including Greybull. It will be interesting to see how teams, and players, have grown since last season.”

Schlattmann’s assistant coach is Michaela Williams, “a great addition to the program and she comes from a strong volleyball background out of Bridger, Mont.,” Schlattmann explained. “She was a member of three state championship teams and certainly knows the game. I enjoy having her provide sound advice.”

Williams will be on the sidelines for the JV Buffs at Rocky Mountain High School.

Greybull opens versus Wind River at 3 p.m., followed by a match with Cody at 5 p.m.

Saturday it’s Lovell and Rocky Mountain for the Buffs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.