The Dayville/Monument Tiger volleyball team is poised for a big comeback this season.
Seven of the nine girls on the team are returning varsity players, and the two freshmen have volleyball experience.
Dayville/Monument is led by Kristi Emerson, who is in her second year as head coach with seven years overall with the team. Cheyenne Perkins is in her second year as assistant coach.
The Tigers’ goal this year is to let hard work pay the dividends of a district championship. Emerson said staying positive to win their way out of any slumps will be key.
It’s a system that worked for them at the Aug. 25 Echo Jamboree JV Tournament where the Tigers won all four of their games 2-0, competing with one varsity team, Nixyaawii, and three junior varsity teams.
“If they got down by three or four points, they got back into the game,” Emerson said. “They’re working on staying positive and not getting down.”
She said the goal is to keep trying.
The two seniors, Faythe Schafer and Kyla Emerson, are returning starters and have played the game together since fifth grade. Each have reasons behind their good outlook on the season.
“I’m excited because we’re trying a new defense and offense, and I’m excited to see how it works against other teams,” said Schafer, who is a setter and team captain. “We have a lot of skilled players who know the game, so that will be a plus this year.”
“I think the serving is our strongest point, and with the new rotation, we’re able to cover a lot more ground with less confusion,” Kyla said.
Kyla is expected to be back in the game in a couple weeks after healing up from a surgery she had earlier this summer, related to a basketball injury.
Both Kyla and Schafer said they are impressed with the two freshmen on the team.
“I’m proud of the freshmen because they really stepped up in our first tournament,” Schafer said. “I’m excited to see how they improve in the game over the season.”
Rounding out the roster are one sophomore and four juniors.
Juniors Aubrey Bowlus and Denali Twehues will be two to watch for on the court.
The coach described 5-foot-8 Bowlus as having strong, powerful and consistent hits.
Twehues, who is a second team captain, is a key server and a setter.
“Rarely does she not get a good set to a hitter,” Emerson said. “She has the mindset of a consistent setter.”
Freshman Aubreianna Osborne attended two summer volleyball camps, and is an anchor of confidence and strength for the team, the coach said.
Dayville/Monument will be up against seven varsity teams in the 1A High Desert League: Prairie City, Adrian, Jordan Valley, Crane, Burnt River, Harper and Huntington.
Emerson said her team beat Prairie City during summer games at Grant Union, but the team is not resting on their laurels. She said every team in the league will bring strong competition this season.
“We can’t take any team for granted,” she said.
The Tigers have regrouped since last year when a glitch occurred midway through their successful season and several games were forfeited. Now the team is ready for a comeback.
“We’re going in strong, confident and determined,” Emerson said. “We’re small, but we’re definitely mighty.”
2018 Dayville/Monument Tiger volleyball schedule
Sept. 11: vs. Huntington in Dayville at 5 p.m.
Sept. 21: @ Harper at 3 p.m. (MT)
Sept 22: @ Adrian at 11 a.m. (MT)
Sept 29: @ Condon/Wheeler in Fossil at 11 a.m.
Sept. 29: vs. Trinity Lutheran in Fossil at 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 2: @ Burnt River at 5 p.m.
Oct. 6: vs. Jordan Valley in Dayville at 1 p.m.
Oct. 13: vs. Crane in Monument at 1 p.m.
Oct. 20: High Desert District Tournament in John Day at 8 a.m.