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Third place finish for Lady Falcons

Karli Cotton of Florence makes digs up a ball as Casey Mann, Melody Maki, Megan Byrne and Courtney Byrne get ready to assist. Darla Cotton photo


The Florence Lady Falcons were unable to overcome the best of the best at the state Class B tournament in Bozeman over the weekend. Their only losses of the season came at the hands of the eventual champion, Huntley Project; and the runner up, Red Lodge. They finished the season with an impressive 24-2 record and third place at state.
Florence opened against Townsend and had a few first game jitters. They dropped the first game of the match, as well as the third game. But they came back to take the final two games and win the match. Makenzie Bauck and Karli Cotton led the team with two aces each. Bauck was the team leader, making 24 sets and Kasey Mann had 17 kills.
Florence def. Townsend, 17-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12
Kills – Florence 60 (Casey Mann 17); Townsend 62 (Briana Anderson 26).
Blocks – Florence 20 (Melody Maki 9); Townsend 8 (Magdalyn Rauser 5). Digs – Florence 92 (Karli Cotton 25); Townsend 101 (Anderson 25). Assists – Florence 49 (Makenzie Bauck 24); Townsend 57 (Bailee Dexter 55). Aces – Florence 5 (Bauck 2, Cotton 2); Townsend 6 (Rauser 3).
After winning their first match, Florence moved on to play Red Lodge. The Lady Falcons never found their rhythm against Red Lodge and lost in three. Bauck had 12 kills and an ace. Megan Byrne had 14 assists.
Red Lodge def. Florence, 25-16, 25-17, 25-23
Kills – Red Lodge 37 (Tess Hellerud 14), Florence n/a (Makenzie Bauck 12). Blocks – Red Lodge 3 (three with 1), Florence 14 (Melody Maki 5). Digs – Red Lodge 48 (Hannah Kohley 14), Florence 42 (Karli Cotton 17). Assists – Red Lodge 35 (Carter Theade 32), Florence 25 (Megan Byrne 14). Aces – Red Lodge 5 (Theade, Rylee Kane 2), Florence 1 (Bauck).
With the loss, Florence was put into a must-win situation in the consolation bracket. They took on a familiar foe, Thompson Falls who had lost to Fairfield and then defeated Plentywood. The Lady Falcons rolled over the Bluehawks in three games. Courtney Byrne had 12 kills and five aces. Melody Maki finished with five aces and two blocks.

Courtney Byrne, Hayley Cole and Makenzie Bauck make a block for Florence against Townsend at the state volleyball team. Darla Cotton photo

Florence def. Thompson Falls, 25-16, 25-18, 25-15.
Kills – Florence 37 (Courtney Byrne 12), T. Falls 29 (Kelsey Fitchett 14). Blocks – Florence 5 (Melody Maki 2, Casey Mann 2), T. Falls 10 (Hope Reid 4). Digs – Florence 73 (Karli Cotton 17), T. Falls 57 (Logan Beckman 17). Assists – Florence 34 (Megan Byrne 19), T. Falls 28 (Allison Vaught 26). Aces – Florence 16 (Courtney Byrne 5, Maki 5), T. Falls 5 (Angie Padden 3).
The Lady Falcons then had to play Townsend again. The loser of this game would finish fourth. They were more composed and focus than the first game and Florence took the match in four games. With 102 digs, the Florence team didn’t let many balls drop. Cotton had 31 digs alone. Maki finished with five blocks and eight aces.
Florence def. Townsend, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-7.
Kills – Florence 63 (Casey Mann 18, Courtney Byrne 18), Townsend N/A (Annie Anderson 16). Blocks – Florence 19 (Makenzie Bauck 5, Melody Maki 5), Townsend 0. Digs – Florence 102 (Karli Cotton 31), Townsend N/A (Cierra Hamilton 24). Assists – Florence 61 (Bauck 34), Townsend N/A (Bailey Dexter 34). Aces – Florence 8 (Maki 8), Townsend N/A (Kasee Clark 3).
In a true double elimination tournament, one loss doesn’t preclude a team from making it to the championship match. Florence now only had one team standing in their way, Huntley Project. The No. 1 team from the southern conference lost to Red Lodge in the undefeated game and now was Florence’s next foe. The Lady Falcons played tough but just couldn’t overcome the speed and heart of the team from Huntley Project. They fell in three games and finished third.
Huntley Project def. Florence, 25-17, 27-25, 25-11.
Kills – Huntley 43 (Stormy Siemion 24), Florence 35 (Courtney Byrne 12). Blocks – Huntley 4 (Courtney Smith 2), Florence 9 (Hayley Cole 5). Digs – Huntley 66 (Siemion 16), Florence 50 (Karli Cotton 19). Assists – Huntley 36 (Keera Stookey 34), Florence 25 (Makenzie Bauck 13). Aces – Huntley 8 (Stookey 2, Siemion 2), Florence 3 (Megan Byrne 3).

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