CLASS AA VOLLEYBALL: Hard work by Tigers pays off with record

Photo by Sam Thiel Members of the Marshall volleyball team celebrate after scoring a point during their Class AA Tournament match against Park Rapids Area Thursday.

ST. PAUL – Marshall’s trip to the state tournament this year is a special one. It’s the 28th time the Tigers have reached state in their program history, which is a Minnesota State High School League record.

Marshall coach Dan Westby said they take a lot of pride in that number and that it’s a result of the hard work his players put in.

“I hope it doesn’t sound like boasting, we’ve been to the state tournament 28 times and we take a lot of pride in that,” Westby said. “It’s the most in the state and at point we went 14 years in a row, which is also a state record and the reason I’m proud of it is because of the hard work the kids have put in. That doesn’t happen by accident and it’s just really kind of a unique place. Really proud of our kids in that regard; they’re great.”

That many appearances are certainly a testament to the commitment level and dedication that’s made by Marshall’s players and coaching staff each year.

Senior outside hitter Erica Jones said it’s a blessing to have a coaching staff that is just as dedicated and determined as the players are with how they prepare for everything.

“I think we have one of the best coaching staffs in the state. Other than us putting in the time, they’re also putting in the time in the summer and offseason,” Jones said. “In the season, they just expect the best out of us, they expect us to give it our all every day in practice and they’re always prepared with scouting reports and giving us a good handle on what the other team is going to bring. I think we’re really blessed to have such a good coaching staff.”

Westby said he shares with other coaches around the state what they put together as a team to work on throughout the offseason and added they’re really fortunate to have players who are willing to put in the time on and off the court to improve.

“We are so fortunate. I’ve shared this with other coaches and I don’t have a problem sharing it, but I’ll send out our summer calendar and show other coaches the time that our kids put in and they’re amazed because our kids are extremely committed,” Westby said. “They’re in the gym four days of the week in the summer and it’s not just an open gym, they’re getting some work done and our coaches are in there as well. We’ve been really fortunate in that regard; our kids have been just extremely committed. I think that’s really been the key, our kids have just been very dedicated and committed to what we’re doing.”