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Lady Trojans seek to build program with renewed attitude, new head coach

DRUMMOND – Despite its brevity, the Drummond Lady Trojans extended their 2020 season into the Division Tournament as the second place team coming out of Districts. But with four starting seniors now gone, Paige Fickler takes the reins to keep the program headed in the right direction.

Fickler, a Drummond grad, takes over for Brooks Phillips and is looking to build a culture where the focus is around one mantra.

“Every day, in every way, we get a little better,” recited the new coach. “We have five things we talk about: Work hard, have integrity, be respectful, be responsible and be awesome and then they help define them.”

Fickler explained that her players internalize each of those things to make it meaningful to them, helping them develop confidence in their game and as individuals. On the court, her focus has been on refining their skill sets.

This summer and all of the practice time leading up to the season has been about getting the girls touches. As many touches on the ball as they can get - digging, hitting, passing, setting. I just want them to spend time in the gym working on volleyball stuff. And I think building confidence in them. But building confidence in them whether we have those (experienced) seniors or not, I want them to know I think they’re completely capable.”

The Lady Trojans return just two seniors in Hadley Spencer and Macy Williams. Spencer saw action as a specialist with an exceptionally accurate service stroke, while Williams also saw limited time and played more with the junior varsity squad.

Last year’s campaign also saw a group of freshmen get valuable varsity experience and playing time. Fickler noted the development of Lexi Nelson, Bailey Parke and Delaney Wagner. Wagner didn’t play in 2020 due to an injury, but who has developed a 24-inch vertical according to her new coach.

Drummond returns two starters in hitter Holly Hauptman and setter Jesse Struna. Hauptman was one of the main cogs in the Lady Trojans offense in her sophomore year and figures to be again as a junior.

“Yeah, maybe a little bit,” said Hauptman when speaking to any pressure put on her in 2021. “I just go out there to play my best.”

And when asked about helping her newer teammates, she responded, “Playing at the varsity level can be very different from playing JV. We know the rotations a little better, hitters are harder, free balls. (We just have to) talk a lot and really communicate. We’re not that short, just shorter than average. We just can’t give (opponents) free balls and opportunities to score.”

Struna’s view of how the team can improve was much more measured.

“I don’t think that size matters when it comes to playing sports” she said. “I think that heart and the strength that you want to put into it are what matters. It’s just being close and believing that we can win and do it all together. And most importantly it’s all about heart and knowing we can get there.”

The Drummond Lady Trojans will get a chance to find out just where they stand along with other teams Saturday as they compete in the Tip Off Tournament at home starting at 8 a.m. They they’ll travel to Philipsburg Tuesday to face the Lady Prospectors.


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