Leadership, teamwork define Lady Pirates
POLSON — Even with a lot of hard work, winning isn’t guaranteed. What is guaranteed is improvement.
The Lady Pirate Volleyball team has learned that lesson this season, with an overall win loss record of 4-8 and a conference record of 3-6. The girls have doubled their wins from last season, according to Head Coach Patricia Luetzen, and she expects they will triple that number by the time the season is over. While the losses still outnumber the wins, the improvement from last season to this season reflects the hard work the team has put in.
Along with dedication to the sport, Luetzen emphasizes that the girls have a sense of bonding that she hasn’t seen much in her 29 years of coaching.
“One of the strengths of this team is that they get along well,” she said.
The lack of drama overall has helped the team continually improve and become a cohesive unit on the court.
The seniors on the team — Erin Sampson, Nichole Lake, Julia Sanderson, Shawna Lenz, Lydia Dupuis and Marlee Congdon — have been instrumental in keeping the team on track. In addition to leading parts of the practices, many of the seniors have an active role in leadership on the team. Some have even volunteered their time and expertise to helping out with middle school volleyball programs, which has in turn built a great foundation for future years of Polson High School volleyball.
The seniors have “been really good role models for our younger girls,” Luetzen said, which includes both the lowerclassmen and middle school players they have influenced.
Seniors Sampson and Dupuis are the team captains this year. They play an integral part both on and off the court, with Sampson in the setter position and Dupuis as the libero.
“They are primarily team representatives between coaches and players and they have done that well,” Luetzen said. “Really, really well.”
In the backcourt Dupuis is supported by Congdon, Lenz, Kyler Lundeen and Laurel Bitterman. Behind Sampson, Lundeen acts as backup setter. The main hitters are Chadelle Smith, Hannah Fryberger, Haley Fyant and Sanderson. Lauren Lefthand and Lake lead the team in blocking, and are both in the top five in conference for blocks. The Lady Pirates are coached by head coach Patricia Luetzen and assistant coaches Kevin Owen and Breanne Kelley. Their regular season is drawing to a close, but looking forward to postseason there is a chance for the Lady Pirates to move forward, if, as Luetzen says, “We come to compete that day.”
Polson defeats Hamilton 16-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19
Hamilton – Kills 35 (Caitlyn Gillespie 9) Assists 24 (Caitlyn Dillon 20) Digs 55 (Tristy Searle 21) Blocks 4 (Caitlyn Dillon 2, Caitlyn Gillespie 2) Aces 9 (Brooke Huxtable 4)
Polson – Kills 42 (Hayley Fyant 18, Chadelle Smith 9) Assists 42 (Erin Sampson 39) Digs 64 (Lydia Dupuis 16, Shawna Lenz 14, Marlee Congdon 14) Blocks 5, Aces 8 (Lydia Dupuis 2, Erin Sampson 2, Marlee Congdon 2)
Columbia Falls defeats Polson 24-26, 23-25, 21-25
Columbia Falls – Kills 28 (Morgan Stenger 10, Kiarra Burlage 5, Kaitlyn Casazza 5) Assists 26 (Cidney Finberg 26) Aces 5 (Kaitlyn Casazza 3) Blocks 10 (Morgan Stenger 6, Keyan Baker 3, Cidney Finberg 2) Digs 29 (Kaitlyn Casazza 10, Kiarra Burlage 6)
Polson – Kills 27 (Haley Fyant 8, Lauren Lefthand 7, Nichole Lake 6, Chadelle Smith 5) Assists 26 (Erin Sampson 26) Aces 9 (Hannah Fryberger 3, Haley Fyant 3) Blocks 4 (Lauren Lefthand 2) Digs 34 (Marlee Congdon 12, Shawna Lenz 6, Haley Fyant 4, Lydia Dupuis 4)