Renegades add conference win against Bats

Park City and Absarokee pick up wins, Columbus drops matches
By: 
Mikaela Koski
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Photo by Trudi Downer

Renegade Jocelyn Ott puts up a serve last Saturday. See the photo gallery at the bottom of our webpage for more photo.

See the gallery at the bottom of our website for more photos.

The RPR Renegades chalked up a conference win last Saturday after defeating the Belfry Bats in three sets.

The first game was a battle, with RPR coming out on top 25-21. In the following games the Renegades settled in, winning 25-16 and 25-15 to take the match.

Junior Carlee Blodgett had a big game, leading RPR with 20 of the team’s 24 kills and two of the Renegades’ three blocks. Senior Jocelyn Ott had 23 of the 24 RPR assists. Freshman Kassidee Humphreys and senior Mercedes Hoff, contributed four and three aces, respectively.

Head Coach Teresa Bare commended Blodgett’s “solid hitting performance,” saying that, along with consistent serving, fueled the RPR victory.

This week, the Renegades will try to extend their 4C record as they face two more conference opponents. On Thursday, RPR travels to Absarokee for a cross-county matchup, and on Saturday the Renegades face the Roberts Rockets in Reed Point.

Bare expects both matches to be tough, and she said the team is looking forward to them.

PARK CITY

The Panthers also added another win to their conference record last week when they faced the Plenty Coups Lady Warriors.

Last Thursday, Park City came out strong against Plenty Coups, winning the first game 25-11. The Panthers did not let the intensity die, taking game two 25-13 and game three 25-15 for the match victory.

As a team, Park City earned 20 aces, led by junior Hayley Story with six and senior Breanne Smith with five. Senior Blakely Verke racked up eight kills and senior Alyx Grabowska added five; as a team, the Panthers had 23 kills. Smith had 16 of the team’s 17 assists, and senior Arica Hedges put up four digs.

Park City Head Coach Kate Cristaldi said the Plenty Coups match was as challenging as the team expected.

“Our team focused on our job, rather than what the Warriors were doing or what the score was, and that focus is what allowed us to pull off the win,” she explained.

On Tuesday, the Panthers faced an always tough Bridger Scouts team. After falling in the first game 25-14, Park City fought back to win the second game 25-21. The Panther comeback fell short, though, and the Scouts won games three and four 25-17 and 25-7 to take the match.

As a team, Park City racked up 25 kills, led by Verke and Grabowska, with seven and six, respectively. Senior Kasidy Robbins (6) and Hedges (5) led the team in digs, and Hedges also had the most aces, with three. Smith had 13 of the team’s 14 assists.

This week, the Panthers take to the road with the hopes of adding to the win column. On Thursday, Park City travels to play Fromberg. Cristaldi says her team will need to focus, as it did against Plenty Coups, on doing its job and controlling the match tempo.

Saturday, the Panthers will take on area teams at the Huntley Invitational, and next Tuesday, Park City travels to Absarokee to take on the Huskies.

Cristaldi feels Absarokee will be a new test for her team, testing the Panthers’ grit, rather than their focus.

“I predict a tight, tough match that will take mental toughness from both sides,” she said. “I think we have gained a significant amount of confidence in the last few weeks, and this will play a role in the game against the Huskies.”

ABSAROKEE

After falling against a tough Bridger team last Thursday, the Absarokee Huskies rebounded on Saturday to defeat the Fromberg Falcons.

Absarokee was caught on its heels during the first game against Bridger, losing 25-3. The Huskies refocused, and lost the next two games by a closer margin, each with a score of 25-16.

Senior Mallorey Sheppard led the Absarokee team with four kills and two aces. Junior Kennedy Ekwortzel had five of the team’s 21 digs, and junior Kaiya Holmquist had all of the team’s six assists.

On Saturday, Absarokee brought renewed energy against Fromberg. The Huskies won both the first and the second games with scores of 25-13. A 25-18 game three final secured the match victory for Absarokee.

Sheppard again played well for the Huskies, leading in three categories with 9 of the 29 team digs, 8 of the 14 team kills, and 5 of the 24 team aces. Holmquist also had five aces, as well as all 13 assists for Absarokee. Ekwortzel put up the team’s two blocks.

Husky Head Coach Nicki Reissig is “extremely proud” of the resilience her team showed by bouncing back from the Bridger loss for the Fromberg win.

Not only is this Thursday homecoming for the Huskies, but Absarokee will take on cross-county rival Reed Point-Rapelje, adding to the excitement of the game.

“Not only is there a lot of pressure to get a W for homecoming, but also to maintain conference standings,” Reissig explained. “I really look to this game to be a good competition and test of where we stand within our conference.”

On Saturday, the Huskies will also take part in the Huntley Invitational. Reissig noted that as one of the only Class C schools entered into the tournament, the girls should experience “a good, competitive atmosphere in which we feel the need to ‘play up’ to compete” without the pressure of a conference game.

Next Tuesday, Absarokee faces Park City at home in another Stillwater County stand-off. Reissig also looks to this match as a good indicator of where the Huskies stand in the 4C district.

“This string of tournaments and games will surely push our endurance and skills, but I have no doubt in my mind that these athletes are ready to rise to the challenge,” she added.

COLUMBUS

The Cougars stuttered last week, losing to a pair of tough conference teams.

Last Thursday, Columbus traveled to Joliet to take on the J-Hawks. The Cougars fell with a game one score of 25-14 and a game two score of 25-15. In the third set Columbus fought to take the match to four games, but it was not to be, with the Cougars falling 25-19.

Senior Morgan Kirch led the team with six kills and 12 digs. Sophomore Reed Johnson put up the team’s 17 assists and also had the sole Columbus ace. Brenna Rouane, a junior, had five blocks.

“Joliet is just a scrappy team that never lets up,” noted Columbus Head Coach Lindsey Cross. “We had some great plays against them, but they just never let down and we couldn’t get on top.”

The Roundup Panthers were the Cougars’ adversaries last Saturday. After falling in the first game 25-10, Columbus fought back, barely losing the second game 25-23. The Cougars were able to force a game four with a 25-23 game three. A fifth game was not to be, though, as Columbus fell in the fourth game 25-9.

Kirch, Rouane, and Johnson again led the team. Kirch put up 11 of the team’s 17 kills and five of the seven team aces. Rouane had 16 of the 44 Columbus digs, as well as 3.5 blocks; Johnson had 15 assists.

Cross mentioned that Columbus struggled with serving against Roundup. At moments the Cougars played together well as a team, but other times they struggled to maintain a positive attitude.

Columbus will face both teams again later in the season, and Cross is excited to see how much the Cougars improve by that time.

This Thursday, Columbus plays powerhouse Huntley Project. Cross said the Cougars will be focused on serving, passing, and defense this week. She is looking forward to seeing how the team has improved and ho w it competes at an even tougher level.

Saturday, Columbus will be traveling to Worden to play in the Huntley Invite. According to Cross, the Cougars begin pool play at 8 a.m. with matches against Huntley, Baker, and Absarokee. Pool play results will determine how Columbus is seeded for the double-elimination tournament in the afternoon.

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