Volleyball Roundup

Jade Phelps passes the ball to the front line during play Thursday night against Great Falls High.
Photo by Doreen Heintz

By: 
Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

The Golden Eagle volleyball team was soaring high heading into Thursday’s match against Class AA Great Falls High at the FHS Fieldhose. The Fergus team had solid wins over Shelby, Laurel, Hardin and Central A foe, Park.
After losing to Belgrade in the team’s conference opener, the Golden Eagles rebounded to take a four-set win over Class B Shelby. They then defeated Laurel in four sets, followed by a four-set win over Hardin. The win over Park evened the Golden Eagles conference mark at 1-1.
“It’s been good to see quick starts in our last three matches,” said Fergus Coach Tara Taylor after the win over Park. “We continue to work towards being consistent. Serve receive, hitting efficiency and serving continue to be a focus. We have to win the serve and serve-receive battle, which we have done during our last couple of matches.
Taylor was also proud of the Golden Eagles winning some close sets during the four-match streak. Against Hardin the team won two sets by identical scores, 25-23. Against Park, Fergus came back from being behind most of the second set to take a 27-25 win.
“We continue to see improvements week to week,” added Taylor. “That is what we want for this team. Everyone has to contribute and do their part.”
Thursday against Great Falls High, the first set was a battle back-and-forth with the Lady Bison not taking control of the set until they went up 18-14. After a Fergus timeout, Great Falls scored three more points to take a 21-14 lead. Two of the points came on ace serves from the Lady Bison. The seven-point Great Falls run came to an end when a serve went into the net. Fergus’s Anna Zimmer scored another point with a kill from the back row, but a kill from Great Falls’ Danielle Devlin scored a point for the Lady Bison. An ace serve by Haydn Potter cut the Great Falls lead to 23-19. Two Lady Bison miscues got the Golden Eagles within three points, but Devlin ended the first set with a tip over a potential Fergus block.
The second set was also tight early. After the score was tied 8-8, Great Falls enjoyed a run of four straight points to go up, 12-8. The Lady Bison continued to hold a three- to five-point lead. With Great Falls within one point of a second-set victory, the Lady Bison committed three straight miscues before Fergus was called for being under the net. Great Falls won the set, 25-18.
The Golden Eagles had opportunities to win the third set. After being done 18-12 at one point, Fergus came back to tie the score 20-20, when Fergus hitters, Ajiah Ross and Andrea Russell both looked to get the kill. Great Falls came back to take another lead, and Fergus came back to tie the score at 24-24. Two Great Falls kills gave the set and match to the Class AA team.
“We played Great Falls High better tonight than we did in the Electric City Invitational,” said Coach Taylor. “We just had too many unforced errors. When we served to the areas we wanted, we were successful. At times we played well, but our ball control and hitting was too up and down. We have to be more efficient.”
Efficiency is the key to an important conference match against the Blue Ponies in Havre on Saturday. Taylor hopes to also have her team at full strength. Some of the players have missed practice due to illness.
“We have to be at full strength against Havre,” she concluded.

Lady Rangers take control of District 5C
Grass Range-Winnett is the only undefeated team in conference play in District 5C. Last Saturday, the Lady Rangers hosted Roy-Winifred for homecoming. Both teams went into the contest undefeated in conference play.
Early in the first set of the match, the two teams looked to find any potential weaknesses on the other side of the court. After the score was tied 6-6, the Lady Rangers took a 10-6 lead on a Taylor Stahl ace serve. GR-W had leads of 15-9 and 16-12. The lady Rangers then went on a five-point run to go up 20-12. The last point by the Lady Outlaws came at 21-15. A poor serve by R-W, followed by an ace serve by Stahl and a kill by Sydney Browning gave the Lady Rangers the first-set win.
GR-W took the early lead in the second set before R-W went up, 12-7, on a block from Dyauni Boyce. The Lady Rangers fought to get back in the match and tied the score at 15-15. GR-W took an 18-16 lead to force R-W Coach Brenda Speake to take a timeout. After a kill from R-W’s Jada Goettlich, a Stahl kill gave GR-W a 20-18 advantage. After the lead grew to 22-18, Speake took her second timeout of the set. A mentally mistake by the Lady Outlaws gave GR-W another point. An ace serve by Kendra Murnion, followed by another Stahl kill, gave the second set to GR-W by a score of 25-18.
The Lady Rangers led during most of the third set. R-W held its only leads at 13-12 and 14-13. After GR-W tied the score, the Lady Rangers scored the next eight points to take a 22-14 lead. The set and match ended on a tip over the net by GR-W.
“They did well,” said Lady Ranger Coach Kate Johnson after the match. “I think our maturity is showing up this year, we are better at keeping our composure if things don’t go well.”
Just five days later the two teams met for their second conference match of the season. This one was held in Winifred, but the results were the same. Grass Range-Winnett came away with a three-set win by scores of 25-23, 25-15, 25-21.
The Lady Rangers sit atop of District 5C with a 6-0 conference mark. Currently, the other district teams are battling for the rest of the positions. 

Homecoming weekend for three teams
Saturday, three teams will be celebrating homecoming with home football games and volleyball matches. In Winifred, the Roy-Winifred football team hosts Custer-Hysham at 1 p.m. The volleyball team will also play Custer-Hysham with the varsity contest scheduled to start at about 6:30 p.m. The volleyball match is a non-conference one, but it is against an opponent the Lady Outlaws may see if the two teams make it to the Southern C Divisional Tournament in Laurel the first weekend in November.
In Hobson, volleyball will be played first for the Tri-City homecoming. The Lady titans face Foothills Christian of Great Falls in a non-conference match. Match time is at approximately at 3:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. under the lights at Brock French Field, the Titans face Joliet in an important Southern C eight-man contest.
Denton-Geyser-Stanford will be celebrating its homecoming in Stanford. At 1 p.m. the Bearcats face Absarokee at George Woodhall Field. In the evening, the Lady Bearcats host Grass Range-Winnett in volleyball. Match time is at approximately 6:30 p.m.

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