BISMARCK – Bismarck-Henning's fourth consecutive Vermilion County volleyball tournament title featured one athlete – Matti Nesbitt – who has been along for the entire ride.
"We were really pumped to go into the game," Nesbitt said. "We knew that Oakwood was ready for us, how they played in the semifinals, and we were just ready to go in and bring home the fourth victory in a row."
Nesbitt has been a prominent part of each of the championship teams.
"Matti's been a varsity starter since she was a freshman," coach Susan Kentner said. "This is her fourth county title, too. She brings a lot of offensive firepower to the team. She's a very good all-around volleyball player."
Nesbitt, chosen for The News-Gazette's All-Area first team as a junior, is the top hitter for the Blue Devils (22-1). She is currently among the area leaders in kills and blocks.
"I think I'm well-rounded," Nesbitt said. "I've played every single position. I think that I can play wherever anyone needs to put me."
But Nesbitt's success has not come without serious work and dedication. She is a three-sport athlete, squeezing in club volleyball between basketball and track commitments (Nesbitt holds the county record in the 400 meters).
"I actually think it helps me, playing all three sports," she said. "I'm always in great shape and I'm pretty good at switching (sports).
"I'll have basketball practice and I'll go to club (volleyball) practice right afterward. On the weekends, I'll play volleyball and during the week I'll play basketball, and the same thing with track. It just keeps me in better shape, and it helps me be ready for my volleyball season."
Playing volleyball year-round has been an important part of Nesbitt's success, in her opinion.
"We went to tournaments every weekend in Chicago and then we went to three qualifiers: one in Colorado, one in Atlanta and one in Indianapolis," Nesbitt said. "We played teams from all over the United States. It's just a lot of fun. I play with a bunch of different girls from the area."
All of Nesbitt's experience is likely to pay off. She expects to play collegiate volleyball at St. Xavier University in Chicago.
Meantime, Nesbitt and her fellow Blue Devils are looking forward to the Class 2A postseason series, which starts next week.
"I think it's going to be a really, really good regional for us," Kentner said. "We're going to get to see some good competition. We're looking forward to this regional."
The regional semifinals and finals will be played on the same night (Oct. 25). The Blue Devils will face Unity at 6 p.m., with the winner advancing to the finals at 7:30, likely against the host Sages.
"We know that we have a tough seed, playing Monticello," Nesbitt said. "They've only lost one game, too. It's going to be a tough match, and (we're) ready for it.
"It's going to be fun."