Malta, Choteau Spike Scotties' Season At Northern B
Glasgow First Team Out At Divisional Tournament
By Joseph Terry Courier Sports
Published: Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
The Glasgow volleyball team tried its hardest to extend its season this weekend, but came up short, in the end only able to muster short spurts of high-level play while facing off against much more talented teams.
It didn't help that the Scotties were paired in the opening round with defending divisional champs, Choteau, which entered the tournament undefeated and had beat the Scotties each of the last two seasons at the Northern B tournament.
For the most part, Glasgow held its own in the first set against the Bulldogs, but a short lapse in the middle of the set allowed Choteau to take a five-point lead. Glasgow hung in the game, but couldn't close the gap, losing 25-18.
Early in the second set it looked like the Scotties could give Choteau a run, fighting back from three points down to tie the set at 4-4 with two huge stuff blocks from Alex Page and Haley Messmer. Then Choteau took over, winning the next nine points and 12 of the last 18 to easily win the set 25-10. In the third, Glasgow again had spurts of great play, keeping the game within three points as late as 14-11. But, a run of seven straight points for the Lady Bulldogs killed any chances for the Scotties as Choteau went on to win the match 3-0 with a final set victory of 25-14.
“I was pleased at how we played Choteau,” head coach Lori Dailey said. “You like to see that against a team that will probably be on the podium at the state tournament.”
Kelsey Borgen had a team-high six kills in the match while Alaina Cole had five blocks against the talented Bulldog front line. Messmer scored two aces, Shannon Saxbury had six digs and Page had eight assists in the match.
The Scotties fell to the loser-out rounds, where they were paired against a Malta team that lost its first round match to Cut Bank in five sets. In the three previous meetings with the M-ettes, Glasgow played just one close match, losing at districts in five sets and the other two in straight sets.
Glasgow was up and down for the entire match on Friday morning, outplaying the M-ettes for stretches before disappearing for a few points. In the first set, Glasgow fell behind early only to rally off five straight points to come within two points at 11-9. Then Malta came back to score 10 of the next 14 points to take a commanding lead in the set. Despite a small run to end the set, Glasgow fell 25-17.
The next set was just as agonizing for the Scotties, who fought back from a big deficit again to bring themselves two points back at 19-17. But, they were only able to score three more points in the set, losing again, 25-20.
The Scotties lost the first six points of the third set, and fell behind 17-10 before mounting a comeback. Glasgow narrowed the score to 19-18, causing Malta to take a timeout and the morning crowd at the Glasgow gym to a rousing cheer. But, Malta took the next three points and led 24-20 before the Scotties could collect themselves. Glasgow fought back to within one point on an ace by Melissa Unger, but couldn't close out, losing the set 25-23.
Borgen led the Scotties in the match with a match-high 12 kills and four aces. Messmer and Cole each had two blocks, Page had 10 digs and JoLynn Reyling led the team with 10 assists.
“The girls played with their hearts,” Dailey said. “It just wasn't meant to be.”
Choteau went on to win the tournament, coming back through the loser-out rounds to beat the surprise team of the tournament, Cut Bank, in two championship matches, both in straight sets. Cut Bank dazzled on each of the tournament's first two days, winning five-set matches over Malta, Choteau and Fairfield to guarantee itself a spot in the state tournament this weekend in Bozeman.
After the tournament, three Scotties were named all-conference by the District 2B coaches. Borgen was the only Glasgow player on the first team, with Messmer and Saxbury named to the second team.
Glasgow graduates four seniors from this year's team, front-line hitters Messmer, Borgen and Unger and their libero, Saxbury.
Though this is the fourth straight year of graduating large classes, the Scotties will likely be in better shape next season than they were to start this one, with most of its roster returning with experience. The Scotties played as many as five sophomores at times this season and played nearly its entire roster in most of its matches this season.
“This is the smallest class we've lost in a long time,” Dailey said. “We had a lot of young athletes get an awful lot of varsity court time. I feel like we have a really nice nucleus coming back.”
The Scotties likely will return one of the more experienced teams in the division, with only Fairfield and Wolf Point losing fewer starters. Glasgow will likely return eight girls who played heavy minutes this season, a stark contrast from the three girls that came into this season with varsity time.
“We have a lot of depth,” Dailey said. “We had a team with very little varsity experience, and being young was a brutal this year, but it will work to our benefit for the next couple years.”
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