The LHS volleyball team continued fighting their way to the top this week, adding another two wins to their undefeated conference season.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, the girls took on Thermop in Thermopolis, winning the first two games 26-24 and 25-19, falling to Thermop in the third game 21-25, but defeating them again in the last game 25-15.
Thermopolis is holding on to second place in the conference standings so far. Lovell is number one and went into this game planning to keep it that way.
“We’re just ready for it to get here,” said Coach Stormy Jameson. “We’re ready for Regionals. I think we’re peaking at the right moment. We don’t want to peak early in the season and not get any better. We’ve been getting better all season at a steady pace and now we’re hitting our peak at the right time.”
The last time the Lady Bulldogs took on Thermop was at a tournament early in the season where Thermopolis prevailed. A lot has changed since then, and the LHS girls had no intention of letting Thermop walk away with a win this time.
“Our girls definitely remembered that they beat us before and didn’t want to let that happen again,” said Jameson. “If we would have lost this game, we would have been tied for first with them,” explained Jameson. “So, we knew we definitely needed to win.”
According to Jameson, hanging on to first place going into regionals keeps the girls in an ideal starting position in the regional starting bracket.
“They definitely wanted to win, too. They wanted the number one seed position as well.”
Erin Robertson had 14 kills, Jodi Walker 10, Chelsey Ellis eight and freshman Emily Reasch seven.
“Out of the best, Chelsey (Ellis) probably had the best hitting game that she’s had so far,” said Jameson. “She just didn’t get as many kills because they (Thermop) were really digging them the whole time.”
The top defensive plays came from Leanne Winterholler with 38 digs, Ellis with 18, Megan McClure 12, Shyann Wilske 14. Wilske is the main setter for the JV team; she is also a digger for the varsity team.
McClure had 39 assists, Reasch had five blocks, Ellis had two aces and Miranda Griffis had two aces.
“If we get the first place seed going into Regionals it will put us in a really good spot to win the Regionals,” explained Jameson. “That will put us in the best place for state because it will put us in the best position at state to do our best.”
The top seeded team going into Regionals begins the tournament by playing the number four seed from another district. The number four seed is usually the weakest team at the tournament. This gives that team a distinct advantage in the tournament. If the team beats the number four seed, they could go on to play the number two seed. This is the easiest road to the top, according to Jameson. The same system applies at the state level, with the top seed from the west playing the number four seed from the east in their first match in the tournament.
On Tuesday night, the girls faced off with local rivals from Rocky Mountain High School. The RMHS girls came in fighting hard, but the Bulldogs prevailed in three games, securing their position as the number one seed at Regionals.
Robertson led with six kills, three aces and five blocks. Walker had five kills. Schuylar Davis had four kills and one block. Griffis had 17 digs and two kills. Ellis, Reasch and McClure all had three kills. Winterholler served 100 percent and had an average of 2.72 in passing percentage.
This was the last home game for the senior players on the team.
“I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of the seniors on our team,” said Jameson. They’ve been great leaders to the younger classmen and are leaving big shoes to fill.”
The girls will play their last conference game of the season against Riverside in Basin at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. on Friday.
“Last night clinched us for first place seed at Regionals, but we’d still like to end with a win against Riverside for a perfect conference season.”
They will play one last game against the non-conference team in Shoshoni on Oct. 13 at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. The regional tournament will take place in Riverton this year Oct. 21 and 22. The state tournament will be held in Casper Oct. 27-29.
By Patti Carpenter