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Rachel Oligmuller and Kadye Fernholz helped Miller get by Winner in four sets

Rustler sophomores DIG DEEP in win over Winner
Aug 27, 2017

By Rich Winter

As Miller volleyball coach Linda DeBoer gets her team ready for an alway TUFF match with Sully Buttes on Thursday, she knows she has a good team. The girls came out of the chute Thursday and defeated another solid program, Winner, (21-25) (25-19) (25-16) (25-20). While the results are solid, already, DeBoer knows these Rustlers can play better. 


"To play Winner as our season opener is always a good test as they are a very solid team and are well-coached," she said "I was disappointed that we dropped the first set 21-25 due to 4 serving errors, a few setter in the net calls from poor passing, and a couple blocks we should have had.  Overall though, I was pleased with the way the girls fought back, found their groove offensively and defensively, and started to communicate better to take the next three sets.  It was really warm in there and the heat definitely played a role as there were many long rallies throughout the night. They had a great student section cheering, so it was fun to play in that environment."


Fun, you bet as both teams really brought the heat in last week's VB match of the week on liveticket.tv.


Coming into the season the Rustlers were ranked No. 4 in the opening poll, but one of their biggest question marks was at setter where sophomore Rachel Oligmuller, a 5-foot-5 sophomore took over for the graduated, Shaly Werdel. 


DeBoer said Oligmuller had some struggles with an ankle injury this summer but worked her butt off to apply her athletic ability to her role as the starting center to run the Rustlers, 5-1 offense. 


"I thought she did a great job distributing the ball offensively.  She ran our offense very strategically using not just one or two hitters, but she got the ball to all 5 of them," DeBoer said. "That is one of our strengths; the power and talent we have in all hitting spots.  Rachel is a very intelligent, selfless setter; she is going to be key to our success not only this year but in the future. She had to run and adjust due to some poor passing and digging at times; but she handled it like a champ trying to better the next ball and feed our hitters a good set."


While the webcast showed Miller is rock-solid, DeBoer knows to compete at the highest level in the state the 2017 team will need to improve in several areas. 

"Our team needs to improve on blocking.  We have height and athleticism and good jumpers. I feel we should get more balls stopped at the net as a result of that," DeBoer said "We need to serve receive better, passing better, quality balls, for Rachel to run our offense with.  Serving can always be bettered with percentages, strategic serving to places, and mixing up floats and topspins."


While the show-stopper on this team seems to be the all-stater, 6-foot sophomore Kadye Fernholz, DeBoer was pleased with just about everyone's effort during last Thursday's season opener. 


"Annie Keeter led us in blocks and had a great night hitting with no errors. Karly Beckett led us defensively with digs, and Kadye Fernholz led us with kills," DeBoer said. "I think if this continues to happen, it will add to our success. Volleyball is not an individual sport; it takes everyone performing their role to the best of their ability to make it work.  Players are so dependent on one another in volleyball!"


It has been a busy summer for DeBoer and the girls who put a ton of time in at satellite skills clinics, open gyms, team champs and a power (speed, agility, lifting) program started by some of us coaches. DeBoer thinks that time spent working for a singular goal as a unit has grown closer. 

"This team seems to get along really well.  They communicate and mix well on and off the court," DeBoer said. "We have a great deal of fun due to their personalities and mutual respect for one another.    We work on this through things like team bonding activities, bus buddies, practice partners, and cookie dough selling teams."


Asked DeBoer about the general improvement of the Big Dakota Conference in volleyball as a whole, and with the Big Dakoka tournament being the first Rustler tourney of the year, Miller, the defending champs, has that date circled on their schedules.


"The Big Dakota Conference will be our first tournament of the season and it takes consistent effort in each match to be in the “ship”," DeBoer said.  "I look for the quality of play to be really good this year from those top teams like Stanley County, Chamberlain, Mobridge, and of course Winner.  We will only have played Winner by the time the tourney rolls around, so many teams will be unfamiliar to us.  We just have to go out and play our game to “earn it”. We have our sights set high and plan on repeating as BDC Champions."

Miller stats vs. Winner:

Stats: Team Serving- 91% lead by Kadye Fernholz 21/22 with 18 points and 2 aces and Kassie Schaefers 19/20 13 points

Attacking 165/184=90% 49 kills lead by Kadye Fernholz with 25 kills, followed by Karly Beckett and VonnaGail Schlechter with 7 a piece, and Annie Keeter with 6.

Blocking- Team total 8 Annie Keeter had 2 solo and 3 assists

Rachel Oligmueller contributed 47 assists

Digging- Team total 105 digs lead by Karly Beckett with 26 and Kadye Fernholz with 21, Kassie Schaefers 20, and Vonna Gail Schlechter had 14.


Miller is at Sullly Buttes on Thursday.

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