The Lovell High School volleyball team showed that they could contend with anyone in the region at the North Big Horn County Volleyball Tournament Friday-Saturday in Cowley.
“Overall, I was happy with how they did,” coach Kisha McArthur said. “We did a lot of good things and, obviously, there are areas that need work. But overall, I was happy. We’re a young squad with not a lot of experience.”
The Lady Bulldogs opened up the tournament defeating Tongue River in three games. Lovell pulled away from the Lady Eagles to win game one 25-21, but in game two, Tongue River got the best of Lovell with a 25-18 win to tie the match up at one apiece. In a thrilling game three, the Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Eagles 15-13 to win the match.
“There was some first-game jitters in the beginning that they don’t usually have,” McArthur said. “But then I’ve never seen this group of girls on the court together. It’s going to take the rest of the season to fine tune, but they’ll eventually get to the point where they know where their teammates are going to be.”
Alea Mayes and Mandi Jo Baxendale led the team with eight kills apiece, and Gracie Hall and Grace Edwards had two each. Andrea Monterde led the team with nine digs and Baxendale had seven, Bischoff and McIntosh six apiece and Hall five.
Next, Lovell faced the Meeteetse Lady Longhorns to continue pool play. The Lady Bulldogs took care of Meeteetse, sweeping the Lady Longhorns 25-21, 25-19.
Bryson led the team with six kills in the match, and Baxendale had three, Hall two. McIntosh, the team’s libero, led the team in digs with 11, and Hall and Baxendale had six apiece.
The Lady Bulldogs wrapped up Friday’s pool play by sweeping the Riverside Lady Rebel 25-12, 25-17.
Baxendale led the team with five kills, and Mayes had three, Edwards, Bryson and Hall two each. McIntosh again led the team with 11 digs, and Baxendale had nine, Bischoff eight.
Saturday, Lovell opened up bracket play as the number one seed in their pool and swept Ten Sleep in two games. In game one, the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Pioneers were tied at 19 apiece until Lovell pulled away with a 6-2 run to win the game. Grace Edwards had two aces during the late run as Lovell won 25-21. Lovell won the second game 25-17.
Bryson, Mayes and Baxendale led the team with five kills each, and Edwards and Hall had three. Monterde led the team with 12 digs, and McIntosh and Baxendale had 10 apiece.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs advanced to meet Burlington in the semifinals. Lovell swept the Lady Huskies, but it wasn’t easy as the games were 25-19, 25-21 in favor of the Lady Bulldogs.
Baxendale slammed five kills to lead the team, and Edwards and Hall had four apiece. Baxendale also led the team with 13 digs, and McIntosh had 12, Bischoff nine and Monterde six.
The win propelled Lovell into the championship match against the Greybull Lady Buffs. Both teams were undefeated in their pool play and swept their bracket play opponents, so something had to give.
In game one, the Lady Bulldogs tried to climb back and hang with Greybull, but the Lady Buffs pulled away late for the 25-20 win.
In game two, Lovell again hung tough with Greybull and kept the game very close, but again, the Lady Buffs pulled away for a 25-20 win to capture the tournament title.
“There’s a lot of little things we need to work on,” McArthur said. “Our serving was up and down. Our hitting was good, but we also had a lot of errors so we need to trim the error side down and keep the kills the same. I was really impressed with our blocking. I didn’t expect them to come out and block as much as they did so I was surprised about that.”
Mayes and Baxendale had five kills apiece in the championship game. McIntosh led the team in digs with 17 and Baxendale had 13.
Tuesday, the Lady Bulldogs hosted Powell in a 2A-3A interclass match at Johnny Winterholler Gymnasium. Lovell fell to Powell 25-12, 25-12, 25-14.
The Bulldogs will face Glendive, Mont., Friday at 3 p.m. at the Wyoming-Montana Duals in Cody and will then face Sidney at 6 p.m. Saturday, Lovell will face Hardin at 10:30 a.m. and Laurel at 1:30 p.m. to wrap up the tournament.
“I’m really excited about this group,” McArthur said. “I think there is a lot of potential. They could contend with anyone.”
The Lady Bulldog JVs competed in the JV portion of the North Big Horn County Volleyball Tournament, with JV matches held in Lovell.
On Friday, the Lady Bulldogs fell to Greybull 25-21, 25-10, Bridger 25-21, 25-19 and Riverside 25-23, 25-22.
Saturday, the Lady Bulldogs defeated Burlington 25-20, 25-17, fell to Tongue River 25-17, 25-11 and fell to Rocky 25-9, 25-20.
Tuesday, Lovell fell to Powell 25-6, 25-16 at Winterholler Gym.
“I was proud of how they came out,” coach Kristin Owens said. “We were more aggressive on attacking the ball and were a little more confident in our passes.”
The JVs will attend a JV tournament in Thermopolis Friday at 1 p.m.
The Lovell freshmen went to the Powell Freshman Tournament Saturday and split with Cody and fell to Worland, Thermopolis and Rocky.
“The girls played hard,” interim coach Chris Edwards said. “Hopefully, they can take something positive from the tournament and build on it.”
Tuesday, the Lady Bulldog frosh fell to Powell 25-14, 25-16 at Lovell High School.
The Lady Bulldog frosh now have a new coach in the form of Mykel Anderson, who joined the team this week.
By Sam Smith