Area Female Athlete: It's all business for Pequot's Bzdok
Pequot Lakes senior Brittny Bzdok about team chemistry: "We're all really good friends outside of volleyball. A lot of them play basketball too and some of them are in track. We're all pretty close outside of our sports and I think that helps us ...
Pequot Lakes senior Brittny Bzdok about team chemistry: "We're all really good friends outside of volleyball. A lot of them play basketball too and some of them are in track. We're all pretty close outside of our sports and I think that helps us play better as a team. We can trust each other better.
"I just think, all-around, we're really good and close and we trust each other and we trust what we're doing with the ball. We kind of feed off of each other's energy and I think that really helps our play."
There's no biz like Pequot's Biz.
School: Pequot Lakes
Position: Outside hitter
Highlights: Finished with 27 kills and 13 digs in two playoff victories
That's unfortunate for the Pequot Lakes Patriots volleyball team because they'd probably like to have a few more Brittny Bzdoks on the roster.
The Patriots' outside hitter came up clutch in Pequot's first two matches in the South Subsection 8-2A playoffs.
Bzdok tallied 12 kills, five digs, two blocks and an ace serve in the Patriots' 3-0 win over Fergus Falls during the Oct. 29 South Subsection 8-2A quarterfinals.
"Sports are really important to me and I think it's really important to step up when I'm being called upon," said Bzdok. "We have a lot of strong hitters and I would like to think that I'm one of them.
There's no biz like Pequot's Biz.
"I just think it's really important that all of our hitters show up to play along with the setters and the liberos and the defensive specialists. I just think it's important for all of us to show to the game because it could be done and we need to do everything we can to play."
In the Patriots' 3-0 victory over Browerville in the subsection semifinals, Bzdok posted 15 kills and eight digs.
"She knows what it takes to get to a state tournament," said Pequot Lakes head coach Kate Dale. "She knows you have to work hard. It just doesn't come to you. She puts in the time. She pushes everybody, especially in warm ups and getting ready to practice and play the game. She pushes everybody to get warmed up and to get mentally there and thinking about the game.
"She gets her teammates in the mental state to play the game at a high level. She knows how to do that."
Bzdok plays all but two rotations for Pequot before being subbed out for defensive specialist Amanda Nies despite her constant pleas to go around the rotation.
"Brittny begs me to play back row and she has gotten better," said Dale. "Her defensive skills have gotten better. It is an option. If somebody is off or having a bad night, Brittny can play the back row. I have total confidence in her that she can play that back row. If somebody is struggling she can play all the way around."
The two-year varsity player registered 110 digs and 22 blocks during the regular season. She also tallied 29 ace serves on 87-percent serving.
"Her serving has gotten better," Dale said. "She's gotten more confidence in her serving. We tried to change it a little bit this year and that didn't work. So we let her go back.
"She's a senior this year so how much do you change? It didn't work. We let her go back to serving the way she does. She's able to hit spots now. My assistant Chris (Ganley) calls serves and she's able to put it where we want it. She's certainly improved in that aspect of the game."
The senior knows how to get the ball down and she can do it with emphasis. She recorded 255 kills during the regular season with a .275 hitting percentage.
"I think it's just really important to keep the ball in play," Bzdok said. "If you know it's not a great set, you have to get it in somehow. It's not necessarily the setter's fault that it was an off set. But I think it's important when you do get that key set, when you know it could be a kill, that you try your hardest to get that in the court. Even if it's not a kill, if you place it in the right spot you have an opportunity to maybe get a point.
"It's just really important to keep that set in bounds. You may not get that set again because we do have so much depth in our front row. We have so many good hitters."
While known for her power hitting and athletic ability, Bzdok concentrated on her defense. She's beginning to read hitters and where they might hit. She's worked hard on identifying an opponent's body language.
Coach Dale believes Bzdok has a good knowledge of the game and it's because of an injury early in her career.
"Brittny tore her ACL her sophomore year and missed the whole year of volleyball and basketball, but she's really come back stronger," said Dale. "I think having her sit on the bench and watch, I think, has helped her. She's learned more of the mental side of the game. She has to think about what she's doing. Her mistakes she knows she can fix those better now.
"She's more of a leader on the team and she knows she can't have those peaks and valleys. She has to play more on an even keel and having her sit on the bench and watch has helped her."
Other notable performances:
Swimming: Alice Foote, Little Falls, won the 100-yard backstroke in a pool record and Granite Ridge Conference record time of 1:02.86.
Tennis: Haley Wiebolt and Sydney Holt, Pequot Lakes, finished 1-1 at the Class 1A state doubles tournament.
Volleyball: Haley Stinar, Verndale, collected 19 set assists, 10 digs and two ace serves against Bertha-Hewitt and 22 set assists and 10 digs against Kimball.
Jordyn Glenz, Verndale, finished with 12 digs, 10 kills and three blocks against Bertha-Hewitt and 21 kills, 10 digs and five blocks against Kimball.
Corina Rud, Pequot Lakes, finished with 18 kills against Fergus Falls.
Morgan Lohmiller, Pequot Lakes, finished with 22 set assists, 10 digs and two ace serves against Fergus Falls.
Laura Squires, Pequot Lakes, finished with 49 digs in two playoff victories.
Ellie Michaletz, Aitkin, finished with 15 digs and 14 kills against Rush City.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .