The Lady Lovell Bulldogs began their regional tourney in Pwell Friday play with two strong wins against Pinedale and Jackson, but fell short in the championship game on Saturday against Star Valley, landing in second place.
The team came on strong in their first game of the 3A West Regional Tournament held in Powell on Friday. The girls seem to experience a few jitters early in their first game against Pinedale but quickly got over it and went on to beat the Lady Wranglers 25-16, 25-19 and 25-13.
“I think our nerves bothered us a little early on,” said coach Stormy Jameson. “We missed quite a few serves our first set that we normally don’t miss, but we were able to regroup and get the job done. Getting that first win under our belt was a nice way to start off the tournament.”
Game stats: Mykelle Nichols 14 kills, 12 digs, two assists and one block; Karlie Keller eight kills, 11 digs and two aces; Savanna Savage three kills, two digs and four blocks; Mandi Jo Baxendale five kills, one dig and one block; Charri McArthur two kills, five digs, two aces and 34 assists; Madison Harper 16 digs and four assists; Kendra Price three digs and one ace and Shelby Wardell eight digs.
The win over Pinedale put the girls up against number two ranked 3A team from Jackson, where the girls played some of their best volleyball of the season, beating the Lady Broncs 25-21, 25-15 and 25-22.
“We played very well against Jackson,” said Jameson. “We were clicking in all areas and you could see a high level of determination to win on all of the girls’ faces. Jackson had beaten us earlier in the season at the Rawlins Tournament, so we were looking for some revenge. Jackson was also ranked number two in all of 3A, so we knew that it would take a solid effort on our part to come out on top and clinch that spot at the state tournament.”
Game stats: Nichols 11 kills, 19 digs, one ace, one assist and four blocks; Keller seven kills and 17 digs; Savage five kills, four digs and eight blocks; Baxendale five kills, five digs, two assists and two blocks; McArthur six kills, 20 digs, 24 assists and one block; Harper 18 digs; Price one kill and three digs and Wardell seven digs.
The upset over Jackson brought the Lady Bulldogs up against the number one ranked team in the State and the 3A Southwest, the Star Valley Lady Braves. The girls just weren’t on their best game and fell to the Lady Braves three grueling sets 25-20, 25-16 and 25-18.
“It just didn’t seem like we had that same fire in our eyes that we had against Jackson,” said Jameson. “We came out and had some opportunities to win in that first set, but losing that seemed to take the wind out of our sails. Star Valley is a very good team and they weren’t ranked number one in 3A for nothing. That being said, I think we are sitting in a good spot at the state tournament.”
Game stats: Nichols 12 kills, 21 digs and one ace; Keller five kills, 16 digs and two assists; Savage- four kills, three digs, one assist and four blocks; Baxendale seven kills, two digs and four blocks; McArthur and one kill, three digs, two aces, 26 digs and one block; Harper 11 digs; Price one kill, three blocks and Wardell six digs.
The girls are off to the state tournament in Casper this weekend, which will be held at the Casper Events Center. In their first game of the tournament the girls will play Douglas at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday on court 3A. Bracket play will continue through Saturday.
“We open up the weekend on Thursday against the Douglas Lady Bearcats,” said Jameson. “We haven’t faced them at all during the season, but any of the eight teams at the state tournament could walk away with the title. It just takes three good games of volleyball.”
Douglas is the defending state champion and the third seed from the 3A East.
By Patti Carpenter