Three tips: what Lake Region State Volleyball can build on next season

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – The Lake Region State Royals (11-23) officially had their volleyball season come to a bittersweet end on Oct. 24 with their 3-0 loss to North Dakota State College of Science in the First Round of the Sub Region Championship. While the losses were undoubtedly higher than Lake Region State fans would have hoped, the team was young, raw and still in the developmental stage. Now, they must wait for another season cycle before they can officially see the court again.

With that said, what will the Royals need to do should they wish to turn a few heads during the upcoming season? Here are three tips for the team as they prepare for the 2022-23 campaign. 

1. Minimize the errors, and you are golden 

The sky is blue, and yes, the water is still wet. Any volleyball team will say precisely the same thing – they want to keep the errors on the lower side of the spectrum if they can help it. For the Royals, this was especially the case. In their 11 victories, the Royals averaged 16 errors per match. Meet the Dr. Jekyll side of the equation. On the Mr. Hyde side, it was uglier. In their 23 losses, the team averaged 25 errors per match. 

There is no coincidence to this – when the Royals hold the errors at bay, they tend to find more rhythm on the offensive side of the court. They generate more kills (11.41 kills per set in wins compared to 8.76 in losses). 

Errors are bound to happen. It is the way of the game. But trimming off one or two mistakes here and there will only give the Royals another advantage. 

2. Invest in the utility players

A younger roster almost always leads to non-stop position and lineup changes, and the Royals have been no exception to the rule. While star scorers come and go, it will be up to the three-dimensional and multi-positional players to maintain consistency and balance on both the offensive and defensive sides. 

One potential ace up the Royals sleeve might come in the form of freshman Abbey Wieber, who has become a multi-role specialist in generating kills, picking up digs and facilitating the floor. 

“We have had to move her around a little bit with a few lineup changes and injuries,” Lake Region State head coach Stevan Waddell said. “She is getting a lot more touches on the ball and getting a lot more sets. It has allowed her to take off a little bit more. I have asked her to be a little bit more vocal about demanding the ball. She has just taken off for us. She is getting a lot more touches and a lot more opportunities to score points, and she is delivering big-time for us.” 

While the Royals will need everyone to step up regardless, it will be up to the multi-purpose players like Wieber to move the needle that much more in their team’s favor. 

3. Share, share and share some more 

A culmination of the two points previous makes this point write itself. Without a set-in-stone scoring star on the roster, the Royals must instead rely on a collection of players on the floor and bench to step forward and find a kill if the ball comes their way. In Lake Region State’s 11 wins, the team averaged 10.65 assists per set (A/S). Lake Region State’s A/S total in their losses, you might ask? 7.84. You see the correlation at this point. 

Moving the ball around and making the opposing defense think on their feet will be critical should the Royals wish to make noise. It will take a team effort, but it can be done.