Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Schye reflects on junior season


April 11, 2018

Pierre Bibbs

Darby Schye

Darby Schye, a former Malta M-ette standout and a junior forward for the University of Montana Western Bulldogs, stepped up for her team in the 2017-18 year and helped them get into the NAIA Semifinals last March.

Schye, the daughter of Tad and Amy Schye of Malta, stopped by the PCN office to reflect on her junior season, a season in which her team went 27-9, were able to attend their second consecutive NAIA Division 1 National Tournament, and a season that she saw her siblings accomplish things in their respective sports journeys.

"My siblings are awesome," Darby told the PCN.

Schye is the younger sister of Tucker Schye, a University of Montana Grizzly defensive end who is eligible to be drafted or signed by NFL teams later this month.

"I'm super proud of him," Darby said. "He is the hardest worker I know and he definitely set an example for my sister and I. Obviously he is really passionate about football, so it is really cool to see him do something that he loves so much. I'm beyond proud of him."

Her younger sister, Malta senior Ella Schye, is currently on track with the M-ettes but recently signed to play volleyball at Valley City State University in North Dakota.

"I am really, really, really excited for Ella because when she was younger she wasn't as into sports as Tucker and I were and then she found volleyball and realized how much she liked volleyball," Darby said. "She worked hard and grew into her body and then as a junior realized that she really liked volleyball a lot. I am really happy for her to get to continue to do something that she likes so much."

As for Darby, the former M-ette helped the Montana Western Bulldogs return to the NAIA Division 1 National Tournament this past season.

"I was so pumped about the season and it was long but so much fun," Schye said. "Right now I am done with it and I have no idea of what to do with my free time."

For Schye, the year was encouraging on and off the court thanks to her teammates, who brought her back to another time in her life.

"My teammates are awesome people," Schye said. "Winning like that; with people who all want to win, was a lot like (the time I played) with the M-ettes. It's fun to see my college career be a little similar to the M-ettes."

Schye and the Bulldogs had a few goals they wanted to achieve and ultimately they reached their top goal.

"As a team, we all wanted to make it to nationals again," Schye said. "We made it last year, so that was cool and we were all excited."

The Bulldogs made it to the second round or "Sweet Sixteen" of the 2017 tournament.

"It was exciting to reach that goal as a team," Schye said. "But for my own goal I wanted to contribute more and I really needed to focus more on having a better attitude."

She went on to say that her attitude in 2017 wasn't bad but she knew she had to realize her role for the team and accept it.

"Whether it was sitting on the bench or getting to start," Schye said. "I did both things."

In an earlier issue of the PCN, Schye had noted that her role was to get rebounds.

"I definitely did my job and later in the season, I didn't get to play as much, so then I really needed to figure out what I had to do (while on the court)," Schye said. "So I got my shots up and I had a pretty good national tournament. I got boards, I played good defense and I even had some buckets. I didn't get to play a lot every game but that's okay and that's a part of it."

The Bulldogs started the season 7-1, before their second loss of the year, they then responded by winning the next three games and were 10-2. They followed that with a three-game losing streak.

"We had a big slump and lost a couple of games," Schye said. "We shouldn't have lost those games, but we weren't playing the way we should have."

The Bulldogs responded well and went on a nine-game win-streak over a month's time, and went on to finish the year without losing back-to-back games.

"I knew that as soon as we started winning those games again that we were going to the national tournament," Schye said. "In my heart, I knew."

The team found out they were ranked high enough for the tournament in late February, two weeks before the event started on Wednesday, March 14. There was no grand celebration because the team was confident they were getting in from the start.

"We all knew," Schye said. "We were like we are going no matter what anybody says."

Upon finding out they were going to nationals, the Bulldogs would compete in the Frontier Conference Playoffs, an event that had bearing on the national tourney. They defeated MSU-Northern 70-62, but fell to Rocky Mountian College and were eliminated.

"That was disappointing," Schye said. "Then we were really pissed and ready for the national tournament."

The Bulldogs, who were ranked 14th, would open the 2018 National Tournament against Dillard University who was ranked 19th overall. The Bulldogs won 66-54.

During the team's clash against third-ranked Campbellsville in the next round, Schye was needed early as the starter at her position racked up a pair of early fouls.

"It really opened up a big opportunity for me and I capitalized on it," Schye said, noting that it was her best performance of the year. "I didn't do everything by myself, my team really came together and there was a lot of energy."

The team went on to defeat Campbellsville 60-57 and made it to the quarterfinals against Menlo College, who was ranked 22nd. The Bulldogs won 74-61. Montana Western would then lose to second-ranked Freed-Hardeman University 61-50. Freed-Hardeman would go on to win the championship in the next round over fourth-ranked Westmont College.

One thing going for the Bulldogs was a home-state advantage with the tournament being held in Billings at the Rimrock Auto Arena.

"I can't even tell you the amount of Montana fans that came through," Schye said. "I even felt bad for the other teams."

Though Schye appreciated the venue and the fans, she had mixed emotions on the tournament being in the Treasure State.

"I feel like it kind of downplays the magic of it because all these other teams had traveled across the nation and got to go on this cool trip and saw a new place and to me it was like, oh I get to drive four hours down the road," Schye said. "The drive is better than the flight but it downplayed it a little. I thought it was fun because my family and friends had the chance to be around and it was a really fun atmosphere."

Schye, who will be in her final season, mentioned that her team is aiming to win it all next season and that she has been working on her shooting every day since the tournament, in hopes to contribute more offensively in the 2018-19 season.

"Everyday since the national tournament I have been in the gym shooting," Schye said. "Because I want to be able to shoot the ball. I want to be lethal from anywhere."


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