Kabatay primed for RRCC spike debut

Joey Payeur

Chelsea Kabatay hasn’t even played an official point with the Rainy River Community College Voyageurs women’s volleyball team but she already is predicting good things ahead.
The former Muskie spiker is ready to take on the challenge of post-secondary athletics as she and the rest of the Voyageurs prepare for the upcoming MCAC season.
“I think our team can do very well this season,” said one of the top servers and hitters on the black-and-gold this past season.
“It’s our first week and we’re getting used to each other and the way each of us play, but it’s been great so far,” Kabatay added.
“I have high hopes for the season.”
Kabatay isn’t just content to be happy with getting to wear an RRCC jersey. She wants to prove she deserves to be there.
“I believe that I can contribute a good amount to the team’s success this year,” she remarked.
“Being my first year in college volleyball, I’m confident in my game and level of knowledge of volleyball.
“It’s only my first [college] year. I’ve still got a lot to learn,” Kabatay conceded.
“I am both nervous and confident about being able to hold my own at the college level.
“It’s just so different, you know?” she added. “But I’m adjusting great, I think.
“I think I have my strengths and weaknesses, but the [other] girls are very helpful and great motivators.”
Kabatay considered hitting to be the strongest part of her game right now, though acknowledging she needs to have a louder voice on the court and work more on her passing.
She’s comforted by the fact she won’t be facing the first-year jitters alone as one of seven rookies on the 10-player squad.
“The sophomores [Sandy Thompson, Tionna Terry, and El Wilform] are awesome people to look up to,” noted Kabatay.
“They’re unreal volleyball players and I’m so glad they’re on the team.
“They’re helpful, determined, and extremely nice girls,” she added.
“I look forward to playing and learning from them this season.”
Kabatay also will be able to rely on the immense wisdom provided by coach Mel Millerbernd, who is beginning her 29th season at the helm of the Voyageurs with a career record of 427-397.
“Mel is the kind of coach you always wanted,” said Kabatay. “She is such a hard worker and she knows what to say and do.
She’s the best.
“I had her for a week and already have learned so much,” she noted. “It’s not like high school at all.
“She’s such a great motivator and she doesn’t give up on the players,” Kabatay lauded.
“She can be tough and makes us better players.”
The Voyageurs are coming off a season where they went 20-12 overall to finish second both in the Northern Division and then in the Region 13B tournament.
“Our goals for this year are to work hard and get better every day,” Millerbernd said.
“A team goal we have is to advance to the Region 13B tournament again.
“We have had a good week of practice,” she added. “I am excited for the season to begin.”
So is Kabatay, who has two main objectives for herself in her freshman campaign.
“My personal goals for the season are to be open, become a more accurate hitter, learn more, and always have fun, no matter what,” she noted.
The Voyageurs begin play this weekend with four matches at a pre-season event in Fergus Falls.
RRCC will take on the Anoka-Ramsey Golden Rams (Coon Rapids) and the Itasca Vikings (Grand Rapids) on Friday.
Then they’ll face the Bismarck State Mystics (Bismarck, N.D.) and the Minnesota State-Fergus Falls Spartans on Saturday.
RRCC’s first home match is set for Sept. 6 against the Fond du Lac Thunder (Cloquet).