Gayville-Volin lays foundation in first state tourney trip
For the first time in program history, Gayville-Volin got to play in a state volleyball tournament this week in Rapid City at Summit Arena. The Raiders season wrapped up action on Saturday in a 3-0 loss to Faulkton Area in the Class B 7th/8th place match.
Despite the 8th place finish, this was a special year for Gayville-Volin, and it could very well be just the beginning.
The Raiders are led by first year head coach Allison Jones, who grew up in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. Her South Dakota connections, however, brought her to Gayville.
“I initially went to college in North Dakota at Willliston State College, and then I transferred over to Mount Marty. I was there for two-and-a-half years, played volleyball, and then I actually graduated in December of ’22,” said Allison Jones. “I went back to Canada, wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and then I got the offer that there was an opening at Gayville. I thought ‘why not,’ so it was a great opportunity, especially as a first-time teacher and first-time head coach. They welcomed me with open arms, so it’s been a great journey so far.”
Jones still has a lot of friends and connections at Mount Marty. This also made Gayville an attractive location, given it’s only 12-miles from Yankton.
Along with coaching volleyball, Jones also teaches PE. She admits that this season had its challenges, but that she’s excited about how her team fought to get better each day.
“We’ve grown so much this season. We really came together as a team. I’ve heard feedback from the girls that this is one of the best seasons they’ve played at, so that’s really nice to hear as a coach,” Jones exclaimed. “It was learning for both of us, because I’m learning what they need, they’re learning what I’m about. I didn’t have to do much, to be honest, they are a fighting team, they go for everything. They lay it out on the court every day. I call ourselves a fighting team.”
At the end of the regular season, Gayville-Volin finished in second place for region 4B, and then swept Viborg-Hurley and Scotland in region post-season play. The Raiders, who entered the SoDak 16 as the No. 14 seed, upset No. 3 Faith 3-1 to advance to the state tournament.
With four seniors on the roster, Gayville-Volin will have a solid chunk of players coming back. Coach Jones wants this year’s journey to be a building block for the future.
“We’ve a very young team, and I just hope we continue to build the program and come to more tournaments like these,” she said.
Gayville-Volin officially finished the season with a 21-14 overall record.