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Lady Vikings build team unity

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For the Charlo Lady Vikings, volleyball is more than a game. It’s a team sport, and that means everyone is a valuable part of the whole, and working together is top priority. If the Lady Vikings learned one thing this season, it’s that teamwork pays off.

“It was good; the girls played hard,” head coach Sheryl Kain said of her fifth season coaching at Charlo. 

As all athletes know, winning is fun, but in the overall scheme of life, it’s not everything. Although the Lady Vikings won plenty of games this year, for the Charlo girls, victory came in the form of taking what they had and doing their best with it this season. For a team that lost four strong seniors after the 2011-12 season, the young Lady Vikings recovered quickly, although it took some hard work.

“I thought that we came back as a team that was trying to regroup (after losing four seniors) … then we all had a chance to get to know each other as a group,” junior Aspen Runkel explained.

“Our team chemistry definitely improved,” Kain said. “That probably was the biggest hurdle that we had.”

“We’re a really close team,” agreed sophomore Sienna Brown, one returning player Kain will look to lead the team next year.

Rachel Hoyt is one of four seniors (not counting exchange student Laura Reich) on the team and says she will miss the close bonds with her teammates most of all.

“It is really fun playing for Coach Kain … but I’m really going to miss the girls,” Hoyt said. 

Of all the sports she’s played in high school, Hoyt said she enjoyed volleyball most, and while the Lady Vikings would have liked to take their season further, the experience was well worth the ride. She’d like to tell the younger players that anything is possible next year if they work for it. 

“The end didn’t turn out quite how we wanted it to,” Hoyt explained. “(But) they’ve got a lot of really good players coming up, and they can do really well (if) they just keep their heads up.”

With Hoyt, Derika Stipe, Haley Berkram and Trinda Foust graduating and exchange student Reich leaving, Runkel and Brown will be two key players on next year’s squad. Michaela Krahn, Jordan Ludeman, Alyssa Doty and Runkel will provide senior leadership for the 2013 Lady Vikings.

“They’re really going to have to put a lot of time in,” Kain said of next year’s team. They’ll have some pretty big shoes to fill.”

At the District 10-C tournament held in Arlee last week, Charlo started out with a win over Two Eagle before falling to Hot Springs, who toppled conference leader Superior to eventually win the tournament. The Lady Vikings went on to beat Noxon but couldn’t keep up the momentum against Superior, losing to the Lady Bobcats to end their postseason run.

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