Cougars cruise to pair of wins against Huskies and Fillies, fall to Rams
The Columbus Cougars had a good week last week, winning two of three matches.
On Tuesday, Columbus beat Absarokee in four sets.
Senior Kat Sindelar and junior Morgan Kirch led the charge. Sindelar put up four aces and 18 of the team’s 29 assists, and Kirch had 12 kills and nine digs. Camryn Ault, Uluwehi Brooks, and Brenna Rouane each had one block.
On Thursday, the Cougars faced the reigning state champion Red Lodge Rams.
The first two games were close until the mid-point, when Red Lodge began to gain a healthy lead that Columbus could not overcome.
In the third game, the Cougars came out to a quick 2-0 lead, but soon fell behind.
Several younger players were subbed into the game, and the new blood brought a renewed energy to Columbus’ play.
Following a timeout with the Rams up 17-14, freshman Brooklyn Wyllie tied the game with three straight aces.
Red Lodge pulled away once again, and a timeout was called with Columbus down 23-18.
The Cougars then scored three unanswered points before the Rams were able to put another one on the board.
With a score of 24-22, Rouane spiked a ball that found the ground on the Red Lodge side of the net. Unfortunately, the Columbus sophomore was called for being in the net, and Cougars’ comeback was cut short.
Despite the three-set loss, the Red Lodge match was characterized by long, competitive volleys.
“I saw some great things against Red Lodge,” said Coach Lindsey Johnson, “but we still have a lot to work on when it comes to our mind set against tough teams.”
It is less than helpful to enter a game feeling loss is inevitable, and Johnson said having confidence in their abilities is the goal of the Cougars this week.
On Saturday, Columbus beat Shepherd for the second time this season. The first time the teams faced off it took five games, but last week the Cougars got it done in four.
Columbus put up some big numbers, with the team totaling 35 kills (led by Kirch with 12), 38 assists (led by Sindelar with 21), and 66 digs (led by Ault and Brooks with 12 each). Senior Maddi Carmen had four aces and two blocks.
Johnson said the Cougars had to fight for the win on Saturday, and it was great to see the determination with which the team played.
Columbus looks to play some tough defense against Manhattan in Saturday’s away game.
Several Huskies had good performances in the team’s loss to Columbus.
As a whole, the team had 75 digs, led by Caitlin Young with 18 and Mallorey Sheppard with 16. Young split the lead in aces and assists with fellow senior Emma LaMoure, each putting up two and four, respectively.
Sheppard had half of the team’s four blocks, and she, along with Kennedy Ekwortzel, had three kills.
The Park City-Absarokee rivalry did not disappoint, with the Huskies taking home the win with a 16-14 game five victory last Thursday.
Absarokee coach Tonya Steffenson described the game as “very exciting for those watching, but very nerve racking for those coaching.”
Sheppard and Young again led the stats sheet, with each contributing a team-high six aces. Sheppard also led in blocks (three), kills (eight), and digs (27). Hana Kelly had 26 digs, and Young put up 13 of the team’s 23 assists.
Steffenson said Park City played very well, having improved a lot since the first time the two teams met this season.
This Thursday, Absarokee looks to accomplish something no team has this season – hand the Bridger Scouts their first loss. The game will be tough, but Steffenson believes her team will be ready.
On Saturday, the Huskies travel to Laurel for the Park City Invitational. This is Absarokee’s favorite tournament, with the opportunity to see some of the other teams from the Southern C Division, according to Steffenson.
Next Tuesday, the Huskies will face the Roberts Rockets in an away match-up.
The Renegades chalked up two conference wins last week, putting them at third place in the district with a 5-3 conference record.
On Friday, RPR rallied for a four-game win over Roberts.
Four Renegades led the team against the Rockets – junior Mercedes Hoff with eight aces, sophomore Carlee Blodgett with 17 kills, junior Jocelyn Ott with 20 assists, and senior Destiny Ayers with six digs and 2.5 blocks.
RPR easily defeated Fromberg in three sets on Saturday.
Once again, the win was the result of a true team effort, with several girls leading the team.
Blodgett and Ayers each put up 13 kills, and they both led in a second category as well – Blodgett with five aces and Ayers with five digs. Ayers and Ott each had one block, and RPR’s 32 assists were evenly split between Ott and Nynah Bryant, with 16 each.
Coach Teresa Bare was proud of her team’s performance last week, and said the Renegades hope to continue to play strong this week and finish the season on an upswing.
This week, RPR will play Belfry away on Thursday and Plenty Coups at home on Friday. The Renegades will also attend the Park City Invitational on Saturday.
Park City played well against Absarokee, forcing a very close fifth game after being down 2-1 in the match.
Junior Kasidy Robbins had a good performance, as she had six of the team’s nine aces, as well as 18 digs. Blakely Verke, also a junior, put up four blocks and 24 of the team’s 27 assists. Junior Alyx Grabowska also had four blocks, and senior Brittany Frank rounded out the group with eight kills.
On Saturday, the Panthers fell to the undefeated Bridger Scouts in three sets.
Verke had another good game, with every one of the Panther’s two blocks and 14 assists. Frank again led in kills, with six, and Robbins had two aces. Junior libero Megan Flemmer led the team with nine digs.
Coach Kate Cristaldi said the team made some progress and fought hard last week. Even though the team did not win, the Panthers learned a lot from watching video of the games, and they will take that into this week’s matches.
This Thursday, the Panthers face the Custer-Hysham Rebels, seeded second in the district, at home. Saturday is Park City’s tournament in Laurel.