Aug. 24—BOWMAN COUNTY — One simple reality about preseason athletics that just about any coach will reference is the thirst for competition, and the Bowman County Bulldog volleyball team is no different. Teams can practice and train for weeks to get ready for the coming schedule, but there's just no replacing actual competition once that whistle blows.
"You're always itching to get out on the court against somebody else to see where you're at," said BCHS coach Phil Weldele, who has been at the helm for the past four years. "Our expectations are to be playing our best in November and see what happens from there. I don't really concern myself with seedings because once you get to the end of the season you just have to beat the team in front of you."
The team is coming off an outstanding 20-12 season in 2022, and the Bulldogs have high hopes for the new year and are hoping to build upon their Class B Region 7 semifinals performance last year.
"I think we've got a lot of talented players and we have been coming along just fine," said Weldele, a social studies/history teacher who also serves as a Pride Center coordinator at BCHS to help students with their studies. "The biggest thing I've learned is to be adaptable to the players that you have because you've always got graduation and you've got freshmen coming up."
This-weekend's tournament in Killdeer covers some familiar ground, just around the corner from Bowman itself, and also should feature some familiar competition with games scheduled against Mott-Regent, Central McLean's Cougars, Beach High School and Divide County over the weekend. Two of those teams — Beach and Mott-Regent — are in the region with the Bulldogs, so that should give the team a good idea of where they stack up almost from the start of the schedule.
From there, the team will see a busy schedule, with an Aug. 29 game versus Baker in their home-opener and another against Hazen on their home court on Aug. 31. The team faces Harding County in a non-region game after that before they head to Dickinson to face Trinity's Titans on Sept. 7 and then are away to Belle Fourche on Sept. 12.
A full schedule for the team can be found either on the school website or at
With seven seniors on the team to go along with five returning players from last season, the experience will be abundant for the squad, and the team has won 20 matches or better for four of the last five years and the only down year was due to COVID.
One thing is for certain: The team relies on massive fan support, Weldele said, with astounding passion and a road-warrior mentality. "My very first match, we were over in Baker, Mont., and I couldn't believe the support that we had. It is just incredible and I've coached in Missouri and Colorado and two years ago we had three students who followed us to every match, including a tournament in Enderlin, ND (about 30 miles outside Fargo)."
The main emphasis this season is going to be very team-focused and -driven, Weldele said, and he added they are capable of great things when they start clicking. "I'm looking for everybody to step up and improve their game."
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