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Scarlet volleyball: these girls are tough

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In the world of competitive volleyball, the Arlee Scarlets are definitely here to compete. With stone cold faces — although candid smiles were witnessed — these girls are all about business. Coach Brian Big Sam can be heard from the sidelines yelling, “smile!”

Don’t let Big Sam’s cheery disposition fool you though; he’s also all about getting it done. 

“I’m really hard (on the team),” he said. 

All in all Big Sam is always about team morale and positivity, both with the girls and with coaches. Big Sam believes coaches have the responsibility to set the example and with his team spirit attitude — smiles or no smiles from the girls — it shows. It shows on the court, it shows with the fans, and it shows with past players coming back for a chat with Big Sam, excited where his leadership has taken them. 

One thing Coach Big Sam does emphasize is talking. 

“They’re starting to click and talk more,” he said. “Talking is a big key in volleyball.” 

Running also plays an important part to Scarlet training and Big Sam makes sure they get plenty. 

“They don’t want to play like I want?” he laughed. “So we run, run, and then run some more.” Though young athletes may loathe the thought of putting track under their toes, Big Sam knows running is such an important factor in keeping young athletes healthy.

On Thursday the Scarlets wore pink while hosting St. Regis in their third year of bringing awareness to the ongoing fight against breast cancer. Though the Scarlets took a fall in the 1-3 match, they put up a hard-nosed fight.

Violet Pablo led her team in the battle with four aces, seven kills, and eight digs. Morgan Malatare came away with nine kills and seven digs of her own.

Saturday brought Victor to Arlee and the Scarlets worked things out with a 3-1 win.

Alexis Shick had 13 kills at the net with Bailey Rice lending a hand in the victory with 11 assists.

Though seniors always seem to take the limelight, Big Sam has been impressed with his three sophomores Becca Whitesell, Autumn Moran, and Morgan Malatare. 

“I have a good set of sophomores that are coming together,” he said. “They play the net very well.”

With post season looming, Big Sam is working to get the girls to come together. “Hitting and talking is what I’m after,” he said.

The Scarlets will host the last two games of regular season play with Senior Night’s showing of Noxon, Oct. 24 and then Hot Springs Oct. 26.


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