DRUMMOND – As quickly as a blocked spike gets sent back over the net, the Drummond Lady Trojans find themselves switching gears again. For the second time in as many years the girls in blue and white will have a new head coach.
Brooks Phillips was hired over the summer to take the lead role after last year’s coach, Shona Bradshaw resigned. Former head coach Tina Wetsch looked to be returning before her decision to step aside to focus on family left the program without leadership.
“I have not had a whole lot of time to think about what we’ll be doing,” said Phillips, who was a player and graduate of Drummond in 1994. “Volleyball is a harder sport to coach because the positions are more specific.
“A setter sets and they have to have a specific skill set. A hitter hits and a defender defends and they each have very specific skills sets that make the sport tougher to coach. It’s been very interesting to step out of what I know and having been a past player in volleyball, I was a blocker and a hitter. I wasn’t a setter, so understanding that and helping the kids learn that has been a big learning curve for me.”
Phillips has been working with kids in various ways for more than 20 years, serving now as a teacher in Helmville. She attended Montana State University and was a student volleyball official for intramurals.
“Coaching is coaching and working with kids the past 20 years will help me get the kids prepared,” she added.
The Lady Trojans have five returning players for 2019. The only senior is Rylee Hilmo and will be joined by juniors Deanna Parke, Hannah Bradshaw, Sydney Phillips and Gracie Weaver. Weaver was the only non-regular starter, but saw significant playing time in 2018.
Bradshaw was the team leader in kills last season, but suffered a left knee injury during basketball. She has battled back, beat her projected deadlines and has been cleared to play to start the season this coming weekend. Her addition will help the Lady Trojans be competitive this year.
The returners all lead in various categories, but Phillips can sense that the team is ready to better then 8-8 overall finish from last year.
Also joining the squad are Hadley Spencer, Jessie Struna, Holly Hauptman, Macy Williams, Lily Golyer, Elizabeth Perry and Paytn Rasor.
Tiffany Parke, a former teammate of Phillips at Drummond, joins the staff as the assistant coach.
“The girls are responding well,” remarked Phillips. “They understand what’s going on and have received Tiffany and myself really well. They are hard working and want to get better and want to win.”
Because numbers are down in the program, Phillips and Parke have opted to bring up eighth grade players to fill out the junior varsity and give them more experience against quality opponents. The two believe that will help the program in the long run to develop varsity caliber talent.
Drummond will kick off the 2019 season this Saturday when they travel to Philipsburg to play in the Tip-Off Tournament at Granite High School. The Lady Trojans will play at 8 a.m. and throughout the day against area teams. They host their first game of the regular season Sept. 5 when the Sheridan Panthers come to Drummond. Drummond’s complete schedule is entered into the Events section of the Flint Creek Courier’s Facebook page.