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Blackduck volleyball team enters season on a high note

In her third year of coaching the Blackduck girls volleyball team, Patricia Gerchy has made a lot of changes.

"These girls are getting used to a whole new system and new coach," she said. "As a coach, I don't talk about wins, I talk about doing things fundamentally correct."

The team hasn't won a championship in over five years, but for Gerchy, that's not her aim.

"When I started three years ago, we made changes in how things were done," she said. "Fundamentally how the game is played, what kind of offense we are going to run, what kind of defense we are going to run -- trying to get them to do what I was asking them to do. There's been lots of changes."

So far, this season, those changes have been proving effective. The team now stands 2-0 on the season and looks to continue that trend.

On Monday, Aug. 26, the varsity team won 3-1 (25-4, 25-14, 22-25, 25-14) over Clearbrook-Gonvick in its season opener and carried that momentum into the following evening when the Drakes topped the Staples-Motley Cardinals 3-1 (27-25, 16-25, 25-21, 25-22) on home-court.

"I really feel, that this year, the girls are trying really hard to do what I'm asking them to do and make changes," Gerchy said. "Again, I don't talk a lot about wins. But right now, at least I can say that (Monday) night was an example of what will happen when they do what I ask them to do."

Those requests are usually directed at completing serves, returning passes and digging kills -- and not just doing so, but doing it right. According to Gerchy, the most rewarding aspect of her job is seeing the athletes put her suggestions into action.

"They are very coachable," she said. "There are kids that look at you and then turn around and continue doing the things they think are correct. These kids look at me, really try to hear what I'm saying and then they turn around and do it."

Despite two early wins, Gerchy can't yet predict how the season will end, but as she says time and time again, its not about the wins. She wants to see the varsity players become role models to the younger girls and be a good example to other teams.

"Everybody wants a conference championship," Gerchy said. "You want to make it to state, you want to have all-conference players -- everybody wants that stuff. I am hoping to be in the top three of the conference, but I'm also hoping we can work hard and serve 90 percent in all our matches.

"Volleyball is a game of momentum and you have to work hard to get that on your side. I want the