Senior vs. Skyview Vball

Billings Senior's Jordan Gilcrist (1) dives for the ball during the Broncs' sweep of Billings Skyview Tuesday night at the Senior gym.

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

It’s definitely unusual, maybe not even ideal, using three setters. One or two is the norm, but three?

“Sometimes I go to bed at night and go, ‘Who am I going to start?’ “ Billings Senior volleyball coach Sue Dvorak said, putting her hand to her forehead. “This is so hard.”

Tuesday night Dvorak’s top-ranked Broncs provided another example that things are going OK.

They improved to 8-0 in the Eastern AA and 24-0 overall by sweeping Billings Skyview 25-21, 25-7, 25-10 at the Senior gym. Senior’s three setters – Courtney Bad Bear, Sam Bonenberger and Hallee Conger – helped compile 33 assists on Senior’s 36 kills. Bad Bear had a team-high 12 assists.

“It’s hard for the hitters, they have to adjust to three different setters,” Bad Bear said. “But they’re adapting to it well.”

That seems to be the case. Raegan Steiner and Kola Bad Bear entered the match Nos. 1 and 2 in the Eastern AA in attack efficiency and Nos. 1 and 3 in kills per set. Steiner finished with 11 kills Tuesday night and Kola Bad Bear nine.

It doesn’t help Dvorak’s decision-making that all three setters are seniors. Each one brings something different to the table: Courtney Bad Bear has the leadership abilities and presence needed at the position; Conger brings a more offensive skill set; and Bonenberger, Dvorak said, knows who to get the ball to at the crucial times.

In splitting court time, the trio averages a combined 13.11 assists per set.

“It was really tough in the beginning because they all set differently,” Kola Bad Bear said. “They all set different heights, different speeds.”

Dvorak is in her first season at Senior, but has several years of previous coaching experience. This is the first time she’s carried three setters, she said.

“With nine seniors, I feel like I’m juggling a lot, but I’m trying my best to make sure people are getting court time and get rewarded for coming to practice and working hard every single day,” Dvorak said.

Skyview coach Vicki Carle has the opposite problem. With just two seniors on her roster, Carle said each match is a learning experience.

“Senior’s just a very, very talented team and they come at you in so many different directions,” said Carle. “But we battled and hopefully we can take some good things away from this.”

Jenny English led the Falcons (2-5, 8-16) with five kills and Ashlynne Copinga had 10 digs.

Email Mike Scherting at Mike.Scherting@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsSchert

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