A substantial change in personnel took place for the Fairview High School volleyball team this season, but the Lady Warriors meshed well this season and put themselves in a position to succeed in a loaded district.
As of Wednesday, October 13, Fairview was one of the top six teams in the District 2C standings. Although the Lady Warriors hit some turbulence as of late, the team has put together such a season that it leaves no doubt about their abilities and chances to succeed this postseason.
Coming off a terrific run to the state tournament last year, Fairview underwent some big changes to start this season.
The Lady Warriors only had two of their starters returning from last year’s rotation, and while there are other returners from last year’s team, they either didn’t start or didn’t get a lot of varsity playing time.
Coupled with the fact that a new head coach (Angie Hopes) took over, the team had some adjusting to do.
The underclassmen and other returners who have filled those important roles this season have already been making an impact, though.
Megan Asbeck, a senior who plays all-around, said at the beginning of the season, there was a bit of “getting used to” the team had to do.
“I think it’s been great, though. Since we don’t have a lot of upperclassmen, the underclassmen have stepped up a lot,” said Teigan Taylor, another senior on the team. “It was extremely surprising, from losing our seniors last year, how much (the underclassmen) came in and were on top of it.”
Scout Hopes, one of Fairview’s other seniors, said the underclassmen have come really far and are vital players to the team’s success.
Although there may have been some adjusting and chemistry-building for the team, the underclassmen’s success this season isn’t a surprise for Hopes.
“First of all, they put in a lot of time in the offseason. They’ve been playing AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), and they were in the gym all summer long. It’s not really anything new to them,” Hopes said. “They’ve been playing for a really long time, so to me, that hard work in the offseason has paid off because they’re able to step up and play at a varsity level. I still feel like I have two or three more on the bench that I can put in, and I have.”
Some of those players who have stepped into those varsity roles are Emily Johnson, Kallee Hopes and Allison Axtman, for example.
Since the Fairview Invite, which opened the season, those new starters showed they could make an impact for Fairview, and through most of the season, that has held true.
At one point in September, Fairview was No. 3 in the District 2C standings with a 4-1 conference record.
One of the good wins early on for Fairview was over Richey-Lambert, another team in the loaded district that can threaten to take a win from you.
Since then, the Lady Warriors hit a tough stretch in their schedule.
After the first meeting with Richey-Lambert, Fairview faced North Country and Plentywood one after the other, and a week later, a tough Culbertson team also defeated Fairview.
“We had a good stretch there; we had a ton of momentum, we were playing great. I think they got complacent and it was like, ‘Teams won’t just hand us the game?’ We have to earn the victory,” Hopes said.
Despite that stretch of losses to tough teams, Fairview knows that with the right adjustments, the result against those teams can be flipped in the Lady Warriors’ favor.
Hopes said the team came out flat against North Country, and against Culbertson, Hopes said Culbertson scored 91 points and Fairview scored 86, a slim margin to lose by.
The main takeaway, though, is that Fairview missed 18 serves against Culbertson.
Hopes said she doesn’t believe either of those teams, for example, has fully seen what Fairview is capable of.
Fairview’s players feel the same way.
“I do think we’re going to make our way back up, and that we’ll come back and compete with them a lot better than we did,” Taylor said.
After games on October 14 and 15, only three remain in the regular season for Fairview.
The District 2C tournament begins on October 28, with the Divisional tournament starting on November 4.
The goal for the seniors is to get back to the state tournament, and Hopes said she wants to see the team play its absolute best to close out the season.