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By Scott Schlaufman
ROGERS â€” On paper, the final scores in the Barnes County North volleyball team's 3-0 loss to LaMoure were pretty rough.
But given the youth of the team, Bison coach Lauren Ressler wasn't too bothered by the 25-8, 25-16, 25-6 outcome.
"It's tough when the score doesn't show that there are good things happening out there," Ressler said. "I am seeing progress every day, it's just that by the time the game comes, everything has to be fitting together."
It was progress that the team is making with a team that will remain together for at least two years. The Bison are led by four juniors, followed by four sophomores. Three freshmen and two eighth graders round out the varsity roster.
Ressler said traditionally, girls their age would get their playing time at the junior varsity level but instead are being learning the complexities of the game on the varsity squad.
Even though the team allowed some big runs â€” including a 13-0 run from LaMoure to end the first game â€” Ressler was looking for the progression from practice, which she saw.
It came in the form of fewer collisions on the court as girls chased balls down and fewer violations for playing into the net.
"It's as simple as girls knowing their position and knowing where to go on the court," Ressler said.
She was also pleased that her team understood the rotation well enough to read LaMoure's offense.
"Before we were too busy working on our rotation to even watch was going on on the other side of the court," she said. "Those are all big improvements, huge improvements."
In the opening game, the Bison kept it close and had LaMoure's lead down to 12-8 when the Loboes went on a 13-0 run to end the game. In the second game the Bison took an 8-4 lead early until LaMoure scored six points to take a 10-8 lead. BCN briefly kept it within one point, but LaMoure scored small flurries of points until the end of the game.
In the final game, Barnes County had trouble getting offense as LaMoure ran up the score early.