Renegades and Huskies wrap up seasons at divisional tournament

By: 
Mikaela Koski
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Photo by Trudi Downer

The last two volleyball teams left standing from Stillwater County – the Reed Point-Rapelje Renegades and the Absarokee Huskies – played in the Class C Southern Divisional Tournament last week in Lewistown.

REED POINT-RAPELJE

The Renegades opened divisional play against the Tri-City Titans last Thursday. RPR entered the game as the third seed from the 4C district, and Tri-City was the 5C second seed.

The Titans took the first game 25-16, but the Renegades battled back for a 26-24 set two victory. Tri-City regained control with a 25-18 win in the third game, and despite RPR’s best efforts, the Titans took the match after winning the fourth set 25-21.

As a team, the Renegades racked up 40 digs and three aces. Senior Jocelyn Ott had 22 assists and three blocks, and junior Carlee Blodgett contributed 17 kills.

The loss kicked RPR to a loser-out match against the Grass Range-Winnett Rangers Friday afternoon. Both teams put it all out on the court, battling to extend the season at least one match longer.

The Rangers took the first game 25-18. The second set was close, with the Renegades coming out on top 26-24. RPR used the momentum to take the third game 25-21, but Grass Range-Winnett forced a fifth set after winning 27-25 in the fourth game. The Renegades were able to out-last the Rangers for a 15-10 win in the final set, ensuring the match victory.

Blodgett had a good game for RPR, putting down 26 of the team’s 37 kills, along with 12 digs, seven blocks, and seven aces. Ott had 30 assists and five blocks, and fellow senior Mercedes Hoff had 15 digs. As a team, the Renegades had 20 blocks and 16 aces against the Rangers.

The win over Grass Range-Winnett gave RPR a new life. The Renegades faced the Melstone Lady Broncs in another loser-out match Friday evening.

Melstone jumped to an early lead with a 25-13 win in the first set. RPR battled back and fell just short in the second game, with the Lady Broncs recording the 28-26 victory. The Renegades were unable to force a fourth game, falling in the third set 25-13 to end the season.

Again, Blodgett led the team with 11 kills, eight digs, and three blocks. Ott had three assists and three blocks, and Hoff racked up seven digs and two aces. Freshman Kassidee Humphreys also had two aces.

RPR Coach Teresa Bare felt the divisional tournament “was quite good” for her team.

“We played like crazy and saw some excellent performances by players on our team,” Bare explained.

She highlighted that Blodgett had 54 kills throughout the three games, and as a whole, the team served at about 90 percent. Sophomore Justice Albers made 93 percent of her serves, and Humphreys had a serving percentage of 92 percent.

Looking back on RPR’s season, the team played consistently during the regular season for a 6-6 conference record and 8-9 overall record. After entering the district tournament as the fourth seed, the Renegades caught a spark after the team’s initial loss to win three games in a row to ensure third place in the district.

Bare noted that the end of the season is bittersweet for the team’s two seniors, Ott and Hoff, saying, “We will miss them and wish them well during their upcoming basketball and track seasons.”

The Renegade coach said she is “already excited to see what the 2019 season holds for this group of girls.”

ABSAROKEE

The Huskies faced Melstone during the first round of divisional play Thursday afternoon. Mel-stone was the third seed out of the 5C district, and Absarokee finished second in 4C.

The Lady Broncs took the first set 25-18, and continued to play tough for the win in the second game 25-14. The Huskies pushed back in the third set, but a comeback was not to be as Melstone took the match with another 25-18 victory.

Several Huskies contributed to the team’s efforts on Thursday. Junior Kaiya Holmquist had 14 assists and two aces, and junior Lexi Meier had 13 digs. Senior Mallorey Sheppard had seven kills, and junior Kennedy Ekwortzel contributed a block.

The first-round loss meant that Absarokee would be in a perpetual loser-out situation for the remainder of the tournament.

The Huskies played the Roberts Rockets Friday morning.

The Rockets came out on top 25-23 in the first set. Absarokee fought back, and gained control with a 25-10 win in the second game. The Huskies never let go of the lead, winning the next sets 25-18 and 25-10 to take the match.

As a team, Absarokee had 22 aces against Roberts, led by Sheppard with 12. Holmquist had 26 assists, and Meier put up 25 digs. Sheppard racked up 14 kills, and Ekwortzel again had one block for the Huskies.

“It was great to see the girls recover from that loss and put some offense together to get the W against Roberts,” said Absarokee Coach Nicki Reissig.

The win against the Rockets set up Absarokee to play Tri-City Friday afternoon.

After some very tight play, the Titans won the first set 25-20, and Tri-City again came out on top in the second game, 25-18. The Huskies put up a fight to extend their season, but in the end came up short, with the Titans winning 25-22 in the third set to take the match.

In her final game as a Husky, Sheppard led her team with 15 digs and nine kills. Ekwortzel had two aces and the team’s only block, while Holmquist put up 17 assists.

Reissig described the Tri-City game as “flat-out good volleyball,” noting there were some very long rallies.

“Unfortunately,” Reissig explained, “during that match, we struggled to put together some runs and kept trading points.”

Reissig said that all three matches the Huskies played in Lewistown were very hard-fought.

“I was incredibly proud of the girls for not giving up,” she mentioned. “This season, in general, was more than I ever could have hoped for.”

Reissig explained that coaching in her hometown was “somewhat of a dream come true.” She said the girls on Absarokee’s team really impacted her, and reminded Reissig of why she coaches – not only for a love of the game, but also for the kids. She feels like she was very lucky to have coached this group of athletes during her first year as the Huskies’ head coach.

“They played so many tough matches with grit and tenacity and their overall success reflected that,” Reissig said. “They should be incredibly proud of all they’ve accomplished, as I know the Absarokee community thinks pretty highly of them as well.”

The Huskies put together a strong regular season, finishing as the third seed with a 9-4 conference record and 12-9 overall record. During the district tournament, Absarokee played well, knocking off the second-seeded Park City Panthers on the way to a second place finish.

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