The Absarokee volleyball team dropped just its second match this season to the undefeated Bridger Scouts last Thursday.
The first game got out of hand early, with the Huskies falling 25-10.
In the second game Absarokee found a spark, starting with a 5-0 lead, and shortly after the scoreboard read 11-2 in the Huskies’ favor. The Scouts offense came alive, though, and after tying the game at 17, they went on to score seven in a row to win game two.
That Bridger offensive power carried on to game three, with the Scouts scoring eight points before the Huskies got on the board. Absarokee lost the game 25-10.
Bridger was deadly, racking up 25 kills to Absarokee’s four, two of which were scored by Mallorey Sheppard.
Sheppard also led her team with two aces and four blocks. Other team leaders included Emma LaMoure with three of the team’s four assists, Caitlin Young with two aces and six digs, Rebecka Lester with six digs, and Hana Kelly with three blocks.
Absarokee coach Tonya Steffenson described Bridger as “scrappy,” saying the Scouts rarely let a ball hit the floor.
Gaps in the Huskie defense and sub-par passing were mentioned as contributing factors to the loss.
On Saturday, Absarokee bounced back with a three-set win over Fromberg.
Sheppard and Young dominated the stats sheet, with the former leading in kills (seven) and aces (nine), and the latter leading in digs (two) and assists (nine). The team recorded no blocks.
Steffenson was pleased with her team’s performance, saying they played strong in the first two games, and “the only thing that would have made that win better – finish strong and close out hard in the third set.”
The Huskies will continue to work on blocking, Steffenson said, and that will help fill-in defensive gaps.
Absarokee sits at third in the district with a 3-1 conference record.
The Huskies play the Reed Point-Rapelje Renegades on Thursday.
Steffenson described RPR’s Destiny Ayers as a “big time hitter,” but said as long as the Huskies can play their own game, while focusing on their strengths, the team will do well.
Absarokee heads to Huntley for a tournament on Saturday.
“The Huntley tournament is one of our favorites,” Steffenson said. “We look forward to it every year.”
The Park City Panthers also faced an undefeated 4C team on Thursday, the Custer-Hysham Rebels, and fell in three sets.
Several girls led Park City – Hayley Story in kills (two), Blakely Verke in assists (four) and blocks (two), Megan Flemmer in aces (two), Kassidy Robbins in digs (five), and Andee Baker in blocks (two).
The homecoming game against Roberts, while a loss, showed some major Panther improvement.
After dropping the first two sets, Park City won the next two, forcing a game five, in which they barely lost, 15-13.
The stats for the team show the improvement, with the Panthers racking up 37 kills and 31 assists against Roberts, significantly higher than the four in both categories scored against Custer-Hysham.
Blakely Verke had a great game, leading in four of five categories: aces (seven), digs (11), blocks (three), and assists (23).
Alyx Grabowska led the team with 11 kills.
During the Roberts game, Coach Kate Cristaldi said she saw something in her team for the first time this season – a true hunger for the win.
She said the young team still struggles with mental toughness, and they will continue to work on the mental game. The team will also practice receiving serves.
Park City faces Belfry in an away game on Friday, and they will also travel to the Huntley tournament on Saturday.
The non-conference match-up against Roy-Winifred ended in a loss for the Renegades in four sets on Saturday.
RPR played without senior setter Nynah Bryant, who had to sit out due to injury.
Jocelyn Ott racked up 30 of the team’s 32 assists. Destiny Ayers also led the team with her 18 kills and 3.5 blocks. Mercedes Hoff and Carlee Blodgett each had seven digs.
Coach Teresa Bare felt her team showed some strength throughout Saturday’s match.
These non-conference games help the team gain experience, and Bare said her team is working for improvement in all facets of the game to prepare for conference games.
The Renegades have two conference matches coming up this week. The first is in Absarokee on Thursday, and the second is home (in Rapelje) against Fromberg on Friday.
Columbus dropped two conference matches last week – the first against Joliet and the second against Roundup.
On Thursday, the J-Hawks defeated the Cougars in three games.
Morgan Kirch led Columbus with two aces and nine digs. Uluwehi Brooks had six kills and Reed Johnson had nine assists. Maddi Carman and Camryn Ault split the team’s two blocks.
Saturday’s game had a similar outcome, with Roundup winning in three sets.
Once again, several Cougars contributed greatly to the team’s efforts.
Of the 44 Columbus digs, Kirch, Johnson, and Brooks each had nine. Johnson and Brooks also shared the assist category with 10 each. Kirch had the team’s only ace, and Carman recorded the team’s one block. Ault provided seven of the team’s 25 kills.
Coach Lindsey Johnson felt her team had some highs and lows throughout the last week, but she believes that if the girls can come together as a team – something they have been working on – the rest will fall into place.
The Cougars face a tough conference rival in the Huntley Project Red Devils on Thursday. Not only are the Red Devils a historically strong program, winning nine of the last 14 state championships, but Huntley is undefeated this season, dropping only one set (to Joliet) so far in conference play.
On Saturday, Columbus again visits Huntley for the tournament.