A brush with COVID-19 couldn't dampen the Carrington High School volleyball team's excitement for the 2020-21 season.
"Our girls have done a nice job of taking this year’s season day by day so far," Carrington head coach Megan Trautman said. "You never quite know what tomorrow will bring, so we’ve been taking full advantage of opportunities that come our way and remaining grateful for each of those opportunities."
Despite having to briefly postpone the season back in September due to developments regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the Cardinals have been able to play the first 10 of their 16 scheduled regular-season games. Carrington currently stands second in Region 3's District 5 standings at 3-0.
The Cardinals have posted an overall record of 7-3, dropping sets to 2018 Class B state champion Thompson (3-2), as well as to North Star (3-1) and Our Redeemers (3-2). Trautman said all three teams are postseason contenders with strong competitors and diverse athletes.
But in Trautman's gym, it's not just about stats, skills and records.
"The expectations I have of my girls include constant energy, joy and flexibility," said Trautman, a recent hire for the Cardinals. "With uncertainties and unique circumstances this season, I want my girls to have a lot of fun, take advantage of each opportunity given to them and to be able to find the good in any situation."
Trautman replaced long-time Cardinal coach Dale Peaslee this season. With the help of five eager seniors, Trautman has worked to share ideas, try new things and keep a fresh approach to practices and team activities in order to build team chemistry.
"We think it’s just as important to do team activities off of the court as it is to do them on the court and in practice," Trautman said. "Our senior athletes have done an awesome job serving as role models for our younger squads. (They) are willing to put in the extra mile, try new things and make the most of our time together."
The model the seniors had set for younger players came in handy against LaMoure/Litchville-Marion Monday night at home.
"We were without four of our usual seven starters, so we relied heavily on a younger group of girls who did an awesome job filling in the shoes of our missing seniors," Trautman said.
After dropping the first two sets 25-20 and 25-10, the Cardinals rebounded serving up 25-18 and 25-17 sets to tie the match at two. The Cardinals went into extra points to win the fifth 20-18.
"It took us two sets to work out the jitters, but once the girls started communicating on both sides of the net, relying on (and) trusting one another and having some fun, things really started to come together," Trautman said.
The Cardinals will face top-ranked and undefeated Oakes (12-0, 5-0) tonight in Oakes. Final scores and statistics were not available when the Jamestown Sun went to press. Carrington is slated to host Kidder County (6-4) on Thursday. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
"We’ve gone into extra points with numerous teams so far and as we look into the next couple of weeks, we anticipate some great matches versus strong District 5 teams," Trautman said.