Beatty traveled to Pahrump for the Pahrump Valley Volleyball Invitational on Saturday to try out a not-so-new coach and a new team. Dale Lerbakken is the new Beatty volleyball coach this year, but has coached the team for two years prior to Steve Sullivan. Lerbakken was excited and said he would coach the team as long as they need him. He is the music teacher from K-12 and handles the Beatty High School band.
“Five years ago I was the head coach after being the athletic director. I coached for two years and then got Steve Sullivan to be my assistant and he took over last year. I also teach band K-12. Coaching volleyball and band at the same time is not a problem. I actually have some kids in band and volleyball so I just get to know them really well,” he said.
The coach is self-taught in regards to volleyball.
“When I first took over volleyball I really knew nothing about it. I never played. I came from North Dakota and it is not very popular there, so it was a learning experience for me. I just wanted to keep the program going. I told them I would keep it going until they found someone else.”
The Hornets played tough for their first time out and had some early success in the tournament when they beat the Clark Chargers 2-0. They also beat Pahrump Valley JV 2-1. They lost to JV Calvary Chapel 2-1, Virgin Valley 2-0, and Agassi Prep 2-0.
Lerbakken said his team is building this year after losing a number of seniors.
“We don’t have extreme height. We just played Clark High School and they had seven or eight girls six feet and above and we beat them, 25-21, 26-24. The girls had me in tears at the end of those matches. It was just flawless play. We have six freshmen coming in. We also have seven sophomores with excellent qualities. They all hustle and it will be a very interesting season as it goes along,” he said.
Defensively the Hornets will need to work on being consistent.
“We will probably be hurting on the blocking end of it. Our thing is to be offensive and get those points. We have good servers all the way around and that helps us a lot,” Lerbakken said.
The coach said he will depend on freshman Claudia Granados, Maggie Cathcart and Christina Thompson. Thompson is a senior and Lerbakken depends on her to lead the team on the floor.
“This is the first time I have seen them play. We are really trying to get the freshmen and sophomores playing time because in two more years they will be tough. These girls love to work. I have had two weeks of practice before this tournament. I have loved every minute of it and I have never been frustrated. I have had girls with a lot of talent, but they come to practice and not just be there. They want to play. That might be my biggest problem getting everyone in,” he said.