Don’t let their youth fool you; the Lady Falcons of Florence are the real deal on the volleyball court. With only two seniors on the team, this team looks like a young team. But they don’t act like one. The team spent the spring and summer playing club ball and are seasoned veterans.
“Almost all of them played in the off season, played club ball,” said coach Jeff Mahler. “So now we’re able to run a fast offense. They have a lot of trust.”
Mahler said setter Makenzie Bauck has been key in their success. According to him, Bauck has mastered ‘quick’ sets in the last couple of years. Now the hitters are catching up with her and the result is an offense that is difficult to stop. With hitters such as Cassie McCann and Casey Mann who have the ability to spot the open hole on the floor and hit that spot. Blocking at the net is also key for the Lady Falcons. Melody Maki, Bauck and Samantha Mitchell put up block after block and slow the play down for the opposition. The back row also has stepped up their play. Taylor Maricelli is the Libero. After sustaining an injury last season at Divisional, she is healthy and making a difference. Karli Cotton also plays tough on the back row. Her serves keep the other teams on edge.
Florence had a couple of tough matches over the weekend. On Friday, they were hosts to the Bigfork Vals. Mahler said they were a bit nervous going into the match because Bigfork is a good team. Florence won the first game, 25-21but the Vals kept in the game. In the second game, Bigfork took an early lead and was up by five points before Cotton stepped up to serve. Nine points later, the Lady Falcons had the lead and went on to win, 25-14. The also won the third and last game, 25-16.
On Saturday, Florence defeated Loyola in three games. Led by Cotton’s five aces and Mann’s 12 kills, the Lady Falcons controlled the flow of the match against the always tough Breakers.
Darby lost to Hot Springs in four games on Friday. After dropping two games, the Lady Tigers rallied back to win Game 3 but couldn’t complete the rally. Julie Abrahamsen had 17 kills and three aces for Darby.
Victor lost to Arlee. Desiree Charlton had five kills and Kristyne Corkern had two aces.
Florence def. Bigfork, 25-21, 25-14, 25-16.
Kills – Bigfork 12 (Mel VanDerveer 5), Florence 45 (Casey Mann 12). Blocks – Bigfork 4 (Tessa Roberts 2), Florence 18 (Makenzie Bauck 5, Melody Maki 5). Digs – Bigfork 43 (Shelby Scoggins 9, Taylor Peck 9), Florence 47 (Taylor Maricelli 15). Assists – Bigfork 7 (Peck 6), Florence 43 (Bauck 40). Aces – Bigfork 6 (Kianna Wicklund 3), Florence 7 (Bauck 3, Karli Cotton 3).
Florence def. Loyola, 25-12, 25-20, 25-17.
Kills – Florence 31 (Casey Mann 12), Loyola 15 (Kiernan Haggarty 5). Blocks – Florence 11 (Sam Mitchell 4), Loyola 5 (Sam Manley, Bell Manley 2). Digs – Florence 27 (Taylor Maricelli 10), Loyola 15 (Maggie Crippen 3). Assists – Florence 27 (Makenzie Bauck 25), Loyola 10 (Emily McCue 5). Aces – Florence 11 (Maricelli, Karli Cotton 5), Loyola 7 (McCue, Callan Haggarty 3).
Hot Springs def. Darby, 26-24, 25-17, 26-28, 25-16.
Kills – Hot Springs 34 (Alyssa Foster 9), Darby 36 (Julie Abrahamsen 17). Blocks – Hot Springs 0, Darby 12 (Brianna Massey 8). Digs – Hot Springs 31 (Shanny King 13), Darby 36 (Abrahamsen 9, Heidi Heiland 9). Assists – Hot Springs 23 (Retallick 21), Darby 40 (Sydney Bergren 26). Aces – Hot Springs 16 (Alex Green 6), Darby 5 (Abrahamsen 3).
Arlee def. Victor, 25-17, 25-8, 25-17.
Kills – Victor 6 (Desiree Charlton 5), Arlee 17 (Cortney Dix 10). Blocks – Victor 5 (Katy Brittle 2, Kaylee Yamaguchi 2), Arlee 0. Digs – Victor 19 (Mariah Caniglia 9), Arlee 35 (Whitney Malatare 17). Assists – Victor 4 (Kristyne Corkern 1, Amber Ibey 1), Arlee 16 (Dix 10). Aces – Victor 5 (Corkern 2), Arlee 26 (Becca Nelson 8).
Hamilton wins Tip Off Tournament
The Hamilton Lady Broncs made a statement at the Tip Off Tournament in Anaconda this weekend. The tournament features all of the teams from the Northwest and Southwest A conferences. Hamilton won eight matches on Friday and then came back on Saturday to top Polson for the championship.
Each match is two games in pool play. On Friday, Hamilton defeated Frenchtown, 25-23, 25-15; polson, 25-19, 25-23, Libby, 25-12, 25-23; and Columbia Falls, 26-24, 25-16. On Saturday, the Lady Broncs tied Stevensville, 23-25 and 25-12. They also defeated Whitefish, 25-16, 25-14. The No. 1 seeds from each conference then met for the championship. Hamilton defeated Polson 25-12, 11-25, 15-3.
Stevensville played the No. 3 match on Saturday. They went 7-3 on Friday and then tied Hamilton on Saturday. The ‘Jackets tied with Whitefish, 26-25, 18-25. They then defeated Frenchtown, 25-21, 25-18; Polson 30-29, 25-19; tied with Libby, 19-26, 25-13; tied with Columbia Falls, 25-21, 15-25.Stevensville defeated Whitefish, 25-23, 25-20, in the No. 3 match.
Corvallis played in the No. 5 match. The Blue Devils went 4-6 in pool play. They tied with Anaconda, 17-25, 25-20, lost to Whitefish, 25-10, 25-23, tied with Polson, 21-26, 25-19. Corvallis defeated Libby, 25-17, 21-25, 16-14 in the No. 5