The Richey/Lambert Fusion came to town last Friday to duel with the Hinsdale/Saco Wildfire, putting their 3-1 conference record on the line. Hinsdale/Saco sports a perfect record of 4-0 in the fourth week into this young season.
The Wildfire and the Fairview Warriors are both undefeated and share the No. 1 ranking in the District 1C poll. Nothing new to either team. The met last weekend in at the Scobey Invitational Tournament. More on that later.
The Wildfire JV didn't fare too well, but not for the lack of trying. It's just that R/L scored more pernts than H/S.
Charlotte Jolley made some very nice saves for the Wildfire, as did Alana Ostrom. Charlotte, at barely 5 feet tall, isn't afraid to move to the net as was shown when she tallied a huge BWA (Block With Attitude) against a much taller Fusion player.
The varsity game followed with the Wildfire drawing first blood ,25-18, but the Fusion came scorching back to totally douse the Wildfire in Game 2, 9-25. Yikes! It wasn't pretty for the several hundred Wildfire fans in attendance. Richey/Lambert had a good fan base as well and they enjoyed the second game immensely. I didn't.
Let me tell ya friends, if you haven't been to a volleyball match in recent years and enjoy fast-paced action you really should attend a match to see what all the excitement is about. These girls make some unbelievable plays with their “pancake digs,” one-arm saves that are quicker than a rattlesnake strike, and the thundering kills that fairly sizzle across the net.
That said, the Wildfire reignited and smothered the Fusion in Game 3, 25 to 22, and won Game 4 as well, 25-21.
With the score 24-21 in game four, Courtney Capdeville made a beautiful and very sneaky “doink” to end the game and match after the hardest fought point of the whole match. The ball crossed the net 11 times in that final volley, neither team wanting to lose the point. The Wildfire for the win and the Fusion to keep going.
Earlier in the game, Whitney scored a point on a “pancake” that sailed over the net and fell inbetwixt three Fusion players, who simply stood transfixed and in total awe.
To be sure, there were some scary places for the Wildfire, like when the Fusion made a 7-0 run late in the fourth game, but Hinsdale/Saco prevailed, taking the match in four games and retaining their perfect season.
For the Wildfire, I have Whitney Molina leading the team with 10 kills, 11 digs and a few very sweet one-armed saves. She tallied one doink and an ace.
Bethany Lacock had 9 kills, 3 assists, 2 digs and a team high 8 blocked shots. Chadaya Christensen scored on 7 kills, 2 digs, 2 assists and a couple solo blocked shots along with a couple shared blocks with Courtney Capdeville, Bethany Lacock and Shyla Gairrett.
Speaking of Shyla, she led the team with 8 assists and had a couple blocks, 2 kills and 2 aces. Shyla also showed the fans some great how-in-the-world-did-she-do-that saves.
Hannah Whitaker led the team in aces served with 6. She usually has some as she has learned the art of serving knuckleballs to her opponents. Payton Chopper had 3 aces and Delaney Beil added 2 digs and 2 assists.
Seems to me the team, as a whole, needs to work on serving. Too many into the net or way past the end line. It's handing the other team the ball and a point for every service error. It's leaving a putt short or missing a free throw.
Their play is good with very few FTCs (Failure to Communicate), they're striking the ball very well and their end court play is good. And they get better each game.
Keep your serves in and your powder dry, girls!
Last weekend 12 volleyball teams from the 1C conference/district converged in Scobey to compete in the yearly Scobey Invitational volleyball tournament.
It was a time for me to renew old friendships, both with the fans of different teams and some players as well. As most of my 12 readers know, I am a huge fan of volleyball and every year I see improvement in the teams. Some struggle with graduation losses, but still play hard. Some have retained most of their last year's starters and are monsters on the court.
I was sorry to see Nashua's Madi Sibley on the sidelines looking in. She tore up her knee this summer playing basketball and won't get back in action until “maybe January,” she told me. I hate it when seniors get hurt their last year of high school sports. Heal up, Madi.
The Cowgirl's Erica Nickoloff missed the triangle match with Hinsdale/Saco at Lustre, so I was glad to see her back with the team.
"MonDak is strong this year in spite of losing three seniors to graduation. Chelsea, (my last year’s “super frosh” tournament pick), Sabrina, Sophia and Shayla are very strong players. After tearing up her knee and having surgery, Shayla told me she's about 95% back to full strength.
But I was going to tell you about the Scobey Invite and how my favorite team fared. (That would be the Hinsdale/Saco Wildfire).
The Wildfire had the tougher of the two pools in this writer's opinion, with MonDak, Scobey, Bainville, Savage and Lustre as opponents. The other pool had Fairview, Culbertson, Nashua, Froid/Lake and Brockton.
The Wildfire handily dispatched Savage and Lustre playing in Scobey's old gym, which is about the size of Raiders Quick Stop.
Back out in the real world of the main gym, Hinsdale/Saco pounced upon Bainville pretty hard. Next up for the Wildfire was a tough and unpredictable Scobey Spartan team led by the ever strong Erin Wahl, who is just a junior.
Scobey led just about wire-to-wire ,throwing water on the Wildfire to the tune of 25 to 16. The girls from Hinsdale/Saco just couldn't get it together for this game. Seems if the ball hit the top of the net it fell to Scobey's advantage. If there was a very close line call, it went to Scobey. I'm not grousing here ... It was just one of those games when nothing goes right no matter how hard you try.
Then came MonDak. The Thunder thundered out to a thundering lead 8-1 before the Wildfire stopped them and they just couldn't erase the deficit and MonDak won 25 to 17.
The first opponent in bracket play for the Wildfire was the Richey/Lambert Fusion, which the Wildfire bested earlier in the season in a conference match. They came into the tourney at 4-1.
Hinsdale/Saco won 50 to 31 in this two game total point match.
Hinsdale/Saco played MonDak in the second match, which (I found out later) was a best-of-three semi-final.
The Wildfire scorched the Thunder 25 to 23 in the first game but the Thunder rolled past the Wildfire 25 to 19 in the second game, so I thought the match went to MonDak by 4 pernts. Silly me! On my way home in my nearly broken car (it totally broke just south of Opheim), I learned the Wildfire had beaten the Thunder in the final game for a berth in the championship match against the Fairview Warrior (ettes).
To make a long story short, Fairview won in two games.
One of the hi-lites that made my hi-lite reel was when the Wildfire's Delaney Beil made a diving-sliding-jersey-on-the-floor stab at a booming Sophia Ekness kill shot and pancaked it perfectly to Shyla Gairrett, who set a perfect assist to Chadaya Christensen, who then hammered the ball, perfectly, to the deep right-hand corner for the pernt. Yikes and egad!! How do they do that??
Next up, the Wildfire is at Nashua Friday, and on Saturday there's a triangle meet in Saco with Fairview and MonDak. This one will be very hot, folks, so bring a fan. The top three teams in the district battle it out for first place. Fairview and Hinsdale/Saco are perfect in conference while MonDak has but one loss.
I don't have the box scores because while we were in Scobey, head coach Kathy Siroky of the Wildfire learned that her son, Chad, had been severely burned in an accident. Coach and her husband, Keith, had to make a hurried trip to Greeley, Colo., that very night. As it turns out, the injuries are serious, but aren't life-threatening, and Chad is on the road to recovery as we speak. He should be home as you read this.
That's it for now folks. Thanks for listening.