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Teamwork is key for Dillingham Volleyball heading into state championships

Courtesy of Dillingham Varsity Volleyball

Dillingham faces some formidable competition at the state championships, which begin this Thursday in Anchorage. They are one of eight teams competing.  

The Dillingham volleyball team is ready for a tough competition at the state championships in Anchorage. This is partly because, since the beginning of the season, the athletes have learned how to coordinate and communicate during games – in other words, to work as a team. That's according to Coach Kristin Smeaton.

“They’re peaking at the right time, they’re coming together more, playing in more of a unit rather than individually,” she said.

Credit Kristin Smeaton

At the regional competitions two weeks ago, both the Dillingham and King Cove varsity teams earned a spot at this week's tournament. Smeaton is happy with the athletes’ progress this season.

“It’s all about trust," she said. "Like I always tell them, front row has to trust your back row. You have to believe in your teammates and believe that if you’re not going to get the ball, one of them is going to get the next ball. It’s mostly practice, yeah, but we talk about it a lot. Every day, every timeout. Trust your teammates, trust your back row.”

In the face of some formidable competitors this week, Smeaton said the team will leverage their strengths – and they won't lose sight of their vulnerabilities.

“What we’ve been working on a lot is covering," Smeaton said. "That’s probably our weak point, sometimes. We just forget to get to the correct spots that we’re supposed to be in. Things that I’m not worried about is serving, they’re all great servers. Dillingham has always had really great servers. Volleyball is a very mental sport, so everyone gets down. But they’ve learned to come out of it pretty well this season and get back together and play how they should be playing.”

The state championships begin Thursday at 10 a.m. at Dimond High School in Anchorage. Dillingham will play the first game against Cordova. The tournament ends Dec. 1.

Contact the author at or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.