The Lady Bulldogs made up their minds that they were coming home with the State Championship title and they didn’t let anything get in the way of that goal at the State Volleyball Tournament held in Casper last weekend.
“I knew it was possible but it surprised me how well the girls played, their whole attitude, the way they just made up their minds that they were going to win it and they did,” said Coach Stormy Jameson. “They just swept the tournament, winning every set, in every game.”
The first game, Thursday was with Southeast, a team seeded higher than the Lady Bulldogs. The girls won all three sets 25-19, 29-27 and 25-17.
“We decided that we didn’t want to worry about what the other team is going to do, we were just going to play our own game,” said Jameson. “We’re going to play the same intensity of volleyball no matter who we are playing. It didn’t matter who we were going to play, we were just going to play good volleyball.”
Chelsey Ellis was the kill leader with 14 kills. She also had 11 digs. Emilee Reasch had 10 kills, five blocks and seven digs. Mercedes Haney had seven kills and two aces. Maddie Baxendale had five kills. Lauren Hinckley and Megan McClure had three kills apiece. McClure, the team’s setter, had 40 assists. Shyann Wilske, the team’s libero, had 23 digs.
Jameson thought it was an especially good tournament for Wilske, who had big shoes to fill left by last year’s libero Leanne Winterholler.
“This tournament there were balls that I thought there was no way she could get and she’d dive and get them anyway,” said Jameson. “She made fantastic plays all weekend. It was a really good tournament for her. She definitely stepped up big time.”
Next up, the girls played Wright on Friday, again winning all three sets 25-23, 25-21 and 25-14.
They took advantage of the opportunity to watch Wright play against Shoshoni earlier that day.
“It’s amazing what a year of experience will do for a team,” said Jameson. “We made it to the championship game last year and a lot of the girls played in that championship game last year.”
Reasch was the “big dawg” with 19 kills, eight blocks, 16 digs and one ace. Ellis had 11 kills and 18 digs. Haney had eight kills. McClure, Baxendale and Hinckley had two kills apiece. McClure had 34 assists. Wilske had 25 digs.
For the final championship game Saturday the girls played Big Horn, winning 25-21, 25-19 and 25-21.
Again, the girls had the opportunity to watch Big Horn play before they played them. This was the first time they played them this season and Jameson thought that advance peek at their capabilities was helpful.
Again, Reasch was the kill leader with 20 kills. She also had three blocks, seven digs and one ace. Ellis had 14 kills, two blocks and 13 digs. Hinckley had three kills. McClure and Haney had one kill apiece. McClure also had one kill, 33 assists and seven digs. Wilske had 14 digs. Freshman Chari McArthur was the dig leader with 16.
By Patti Carpenter