Becky Hancock has a bit of a problem
The Butte Central second-year head volleyball coach is having a hard time figuring out which players will make up the starting rotation for the Maroons once the regular season begins.
BC’s roster is loaded with talent and experience that presents Hancock with a challenge most coaches would kill to have.
“We’re very, very deep in talent this year, and it’s exciting,” Hancock said after the team’s Maroon and White scrimmage Saturday morning at the Maroon Activities Center. “With that you have options. I’m super excited with this group and the talent we have.”
For the record, the home team won both games, 25-15 and 17-15. That was the side in which Hancock was working on her rotation. Many players switched sides during the games.
“Today we threw a couple different rotations out there just to get a feel,” Hancock said.
The Maroons roster is loaded with seniors and juniors. That comes after the Maroons were predominantly underclassmen the last couple of seasons.
“We have eight seniors on that roster,” said Hancock, who was an assistant when the Maroons qualified for the Class A State tournament in 2012. “Four of them played as freshmen on that team that went to State. This kind of reminds me of that group again.”
Seniors on the roster are Kate Ossello, Shawnee Hjelt, Teresa Piazzola, McKenzie Gallagher, Sierra Pica, Whitney McGree, Lacey McGree and Ryan Trudnowski.
BC has five juniors in Emily St. John, Corbyn Holm, Taylor Wahl, Mollie Peoples and Kaylee O’Herron. Sophomore Olivia Bolton rounds out the varsity roster.
The Maroons also possess some good height. O’Herron is 6-foot, while Trudnowski, Lacey McGree and Pica are listed at 5-10. Holm is 5-9, and St. John, Piazzola and Peoples are 5-8.
“We have a big front row,” Hancock said. “It’s basically all of my returners from last year on that front row.”
The Maroons also have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. BC’s bid to qualify for State ended with a loss to Anaconda at the divisional tournament. That is something that didn’t sit well with the Maroons.
“They’re hungry,” Hancock said. “They weren’t happy with how things ended. That gives them a big drive this year to know that they can get there. I think we will be right up there come divisional tournament time.”
With the loss of Anaconda to Class B, the Southwestern A will combine for a nine-team divisional tournament with the Northwestern A in Hamilton.
That isn’t until early November, so the Maroons have a long time to figure things out.
They also have opportunities early in the season to find their best rotation, and Hancock plans to use a couple of early-season tournaments to do just that.
The Maroons open next Friday and Saturday in a tipoff tournament in Dillon. There, the Maroons will play all of the Northwestern A teams in pool play.
After playing host to Polson in a nonconference match on Sept. 3, BC heads to the Windy City Classic in Belgrade.
“It’s kind of like preseason tournaments,” Hancock said. “I’m going to try some different things.”
The Maroons open Southwestern A play Sept. 10 in Dillon.
“I’m excited for this year, and they’re excited,” Hancock said. “It’s a great group all around. Not only do they have the talent, they are just great kids to be around.”