Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mikayla Jefferson sets up for a bump during practice. Moullet is teaching  players to focus and control their emotions through the use of loud noises and music.Kourtney Chavez (foreground) goes after her ball Monday as Hardin volleyball players practice proper hitting control. Chavez is one of four team captains for the Lady Bulldogs.Lady Bulldog players go through stretching exercises at the beginning of Monday’s practice. According to Head Coach Tiffany Moullet, the players – who have participated in AAU Volleyball and camps in Bozeman, Missoula and Gonzaga University – are ready to fight their way to State. They’ll get their first chance to prove themselves during the Border Wars tournament this weekend in Cody, Wyo.

‘Everybody’s antsy’

Hardin High School’s Lady Bulldog volleyball team, going into three weeks of practice, are ready to out-spike, out-dig and out-kill the competition for the 2015-16 season, according to Head Coach Tiffany Moullet. If teams happen to be tough, she said, they will also out-work them with the help of tall hitters and strong blockers.
To avoid a repeat of the losses from last season’s second half, players have participated in Montana AAU Volleyball in the spring, as well as summer camps in Bozeman, Missoula and – for 12 of the girls – Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. 
“We have high expectations for our team; all the girls do,” Moullet said. “Every single one of them who I’ve talked to have all said they’ve got State in their minds, but they also want to go game-by-game and play their hardest.
“Everybody’s antsy. I’m antsy, the girls are antsy to just go play somewhere. They’re just itching to play somewhere.”
Moullet, speaking to the girls, said she had even dreamed about volleyball practice. In this particular dream, she was unable to yell properly as they dribbled volleyballs over her voice and ate popsicles brought by one of the assistant coaches. As a result of this dream, she placed extra importance on reminding them to focus on the game.
Focus, according to Moullet, can be helped by the players controlling their emotions.
“I think the girls told me 95 percent of the game is emotions and momentum,” she said. “We practice that, practice trying to play on their emotions.”
Techniques used to play on the player’s emotions, she said, include making “lots of noise and yelling,” and playing loud music to get players accustomed to the things that might normally break their concentration. Moullet says it prepares the team to communicate well despite noisy crowds and assorted chaos.
Keeping the team anchored this year will be four team captains: Elissa Lind, Keaunna Mason, Korah Lachenmeier and Kourtney Chavez. Aside from the returning captains, varsity players coming back from last season include Ashley Uffelman, Aubrey Meiwald, Sarah Edgar and Shelby Uffelman.
The Lady Bulldogs will  be traveling to Cody, Wyo. this coming weekend to participate in the annual Border Wars tournament.