No court, no problem for New Rockford-Sheyenne Volleyball

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

NEW ROCKFORD - All was fine and dandy for the New Rockford-Sheyenne volleyball team until it wasn’t. 

Although the Rockets were slated to play their home-opener on Sep. 7 against Medina-Pingree/Buchanan, the match moved to Medina-Pingree/Buchanan instead. 

Nothing was inexplicably wrong with New Rockford’s court, of course. It was just unfinished from getting refinished. Refinishing a court, compared to routine waxing, involves sanding, painting, and putting down a new finish so that the court remains in tip-top shape. 

New Rockford's volleyball court

While the process typically takes around four weeks, scheduling delays have prolonged the process to six weeks. The refinishing process originally began on Aug. 5. 

“It was supposed to be a four-week process, and now it sounds like it is going to be done next Friday (Sep. 17),” New Rockford-Sheyenne athletic director Elliott Belquist said. “It turned into about a six-week process, and we had some delays along the way with getting people here, too.” 

Scheduling changes have not been the only problem for New Rockford-Sheyenne's volleyball team. Hashing out practice schedules has also been a challenge. 

“The biggest thing is getting our girls back here to practice,” Belquist said. “They have been practicing in Sheyenne since the beginning of volleyball. It is a great alternative for us, but it is only one court. You get 22-24 kids on one court. It is pretty limited as to what you can do. Volleyball has had to be really flexible with practices and C-squads sometimes going on their own. Getting people down to Sheyenne from New Rockford has been another hassle for the coaches. That is the biggest thing. We need to get our gym back so our kids can practice.” 

For New-Rockford-Sheyenne head coach Sara Myhre, the process of practicing solely at Sheyenne, coupled with playing road game after road game, has been challenging as it has been character-building. However, the Rockets, in Myhre’s mind, have been able to tackle adversity and translate it into on-the-court success. 

“We actually knew we would not be playing that home game against Medina a couple of weeks ago because we were supposed to play them the day after we played Thompson, which would have been Tuesday, Aug. 31,” Myhre said. “We were actually OK with the fact we had another week of practice before we played them, and again there was no complaining from the girls.” 

This success made itself apparent during their newfound road game against Medina-Pingree/Buchanan Tuesday evening. After the Rockets etched out a slim 26-24 win during their first set against the Thunder, the former dropped the following two sets (25-18 and 25-22). 

The Rockets, however, were able to rebound and not only win the fourth set of the evening (25-21) but clinch the match victory with their 18-16 thriller during the fifth and final set. 

From Kelsie Belquist’s 14 kills to Kaiya O’Connor’s 35 assists, the Rockets, despite the obstacles off the court, were able to capitalize on a court nonetheless to claim their first victory of the season. 

“MPB is always an exciting competitive game when we play them,” Myhre said. “It is always exciting as a team when we win, and hopefully, we can keep this momentum going. As far as being at away games, we need that preparation and adversity. It builds confidence as a team, I believe. I sometimes think as a team we get too comfortable on our home court, and then more uncomfortable when we have away games.” 

Moving forward, Myhre believes the adversity of playing on the road will only spark her team to be even better both on the road and when they inevitably do battle from within their home confines. 

“It was a close one, so it was fun to see the determination and drive in all of them to pull off the win in five sets,” Myhre said. “We are looking forward to the rest of our scheduled home games played on our home court with our fans and community support.” 

New Rockford-Sheyenne’s first scheduled home match is Sep. 21 against Drake-Anamoose.