Corvallis remains unbeaten
The Corvallis Blue Devils maintained their perfect season at the Southwest A tournament in Corvallis over the weekend. They claimed the championship with a sweep of Dillon and will advance to the All Class Volleyball Tournament in Bozeman this weekend. They will play Belgrade, the No. 2 seed from the Central A conference.
The senior laden team, there are seven, was heavily favored to win this weekend. The team has not lost a match all season. But coach Kasey Arceniega was not looking past the tournament until Saturday night.
“We knew there were a lot of teams in this conference that could get the ball up and that they had tenacious defenses. We were ready for that.”
With 6’0” Joanna Avery, 5’11” Kelsey Irwin, and 5’9” Chantel Jessop on the front row, it’s difficult to get a ball past these Blue Devils. In the event one does make it past them, Laura Berner, Alex Price or Katie Patterson are right there to dig it up. The team plays the floor well and doesn’t stop. Add in the state high jump champion Jessica Lewis who is another force at the net and the team is almost unstoppable. Irwin is an outside hitter that can really swat the ball down. Avery controls the middle and right side. Jessop and Lewis are both deadly with their hits and blocks too. Setter Alex Price can put the ball in the ideal position but if she’s not in the right spot, Berner is right there for a set. Berner is the heart of the team with her enthusiasm and encouragement. Patterson, the Libero, patrols the back row and keeps the ball in play. With this combination of talent, height, speed and tenacity, the Blue Devils are one tough team.
With the team heading to state for the third straight year, Arceniega is working on having her team mentally prepared for the venue. “State’s a whole new game. The skills are there, not going to worry about that. But what we’re really going to work on is being mentally prepared before we get there. It’s a hard venue to get mentally prepared when you walk in the gym. You need to be prepared before we get there. They know exactly what to expect. That’s an advantage for them.”
Senior Laura Berner agrees with her coach. Having been there for the last two years, she feels the Brick Breeden Field House will not be as intimidating as it has been in the past. “This is our year.”
Arceniega is also thinking this might be the Blue Devils year. “Our expectations, I’m not going to lie, our expectations are high, going through and undefeated season and having so many seniors that expect a lot out of themselves. This week we’re going to work on just fine tuning a few little things and getting our heads right before we get there.”
They topped Dillon for the championship in three games. The Blue Devils came out relaxed and ready to play. Dillon, on the other hand, had already played two matches on Saturday to get to the championship. Avery had 13 kills and four blocks.
Corvallis def. Dillon, 25-14, 25-17, 25-20, championship.
Kills – Dillon 20 (Josee Pendleton 9), Corvallis 29 (Joanna Avery 13). Blocks – Dillon 2 (Chase, Pendleton), Corvallis 9 (Avery 4). Digs – Dillon 41 (Taryn Judge 11), Corvallis 45 (Kelsey Irwin 12). Assists – Dillon 19 (Morstein 18), Corvallis 26 (Alex Price 18). Aces – Dillon 5 (Andersen 2, Pendleton 2), Corvallis 15 (Katie Patterson 4, Irwin 4).
Corvallis opened against Dillon in the six team tournament. They held the Beavs under 20 points in every match. Berner and Irwin each had 10 kills and Avery had four aces.
Corvallis def. Dillon, 25-19, 25-12, 25-18.
Kills – Dillon 23 (Pendleton 13), Corvallis 37 (Laura Berner 10, Irwin 10). Blocks – Dillon 2 (Chase 1), Corvallis 1 (Avery 1). Digs – Dillon 49 (Linder 14), Corvallis 44 (Chantel Jessop 12). Assists – Dillon 22 (Morstein 20), Corvallis 22 (Price 15). Aces – Dillon 2 (Lamey 1, Pendleton 1), Corvallis 10 (Avery 4).
Corvallis then moved on to the undefeated game where they matched up against Anaconda. Although the Copperheads gave them a bit of a run in the first game, the Blue Devils settled down and played their style and came away with a win in three games. Irwin had 13 kills and Jessop had four aces.
Corvallis def. Anaconda, 25-21, 25-17, 25-11.
Kills – Anaconda 16 (Strommen 5), Corvallis 36 (Irwin 13). Blocks – Anaconda 6 (Flynn 2), Corvallis 5 (Avery 2). Digs – Anaconda 40 (Jorgensen 11, Flynn 11), Corvallis 53 (Katie Patterson 19). Assists – Anaconda 11 (Jorgensen 5), Corvallis 33 (Price 25). Aces – Anaconda 3 (3 tied with 1), Corvallis 8 (Jessop 4).
Stevensville opened against Dillon. The Yellowjackets were a bit off on their front line according to Coach Erin O’Reilly and couldn’t get the momentum to swing their way. “They just weren’t on. That was tough for our back row to pick up some of those harder hits from Josee (Pendleton).”
Dillon def. Stevensville, 25-21, 25-16, 26-24.
Kills – Stevensville 27 (Kyla Paulsen 10), Dillon 34 (Pendleton 15). Blocks – Stevensville 4 (Emalie Lewis 3), Dillon 4 (Lamey 1.5, Pendleton 1.5). Digs – Stevensville 65 (Carly Vercruyssen 18), Dillon 51 (Judge 15). Assists – Stevensville 24 (Megan Elam 11), Dillon 33 (Morstein 29). Aces – Stevensville 6 (3 tied with 2), Dillon 6 (Morstein 2, Lamey 2).
Hamilton opened against Butte Central. The Lady Broncs held off the young team and won in three games. Penny Gwynn had 14 kills and 14 digs for Hamilton.
Hamilton def. Butte Central, 25-17, 25-20, 25-21.
Kills – Butte 13 (McGree 4, Sadie Harrington 4), Hamilton 34 (Penny Gwynn 14). Blocks – Butte 9 (L. McGree 5), Hamilton 2 (Shannon Casale 1). Digs – Butte 31 (C. McGree 12), Hamilton 52 (Gwynn 14). Assists – Butte 10 (St. John 10), Hamilton 31 (Makayla Horvath 27). Aces – Butte 8 (Antonioli 3), Hamilton 10 (Gwynn 4).
Hamilton then advanced to play Anaconda in the second round. The Lady Broncs came out strong and won the first game but then dropped the second. The emotions were high and although they won the third game, they were unable to stop Taylor Flynn at the net and lost the last two games. Hamilton was actually up by one point in Game 5 when one of the players was given a yellow card. That rattled the team and they didn’t recover. Gwynn finished with 23 kills.
Anaconda def. Hamilton, 23-25, 25-9, 20-25, 25-18. 16-14.
Kills – Hamilton 40 (Gwynn 23), Anaconda 30 (Flynn 11). Blocks – Hamilton 7 (Ellie Hurlbert 2.5, Casale 2.5), Anaconda 9 (Flynn 3). Digs – Hamilton 85 (Casale 22), Anaconda 79 (Flynn 21). Assists – Hamilton 38 (Horvath 33), Anaconda 25 (Jorgensen 14). Aces – Hamilton 14 (Val Tayler 3, Casale 3), Anaconda 15 (Flynn 4, Strommen 4).
Hamilton’s loss set up a loser out match between Hamilton and Stevensville. Stevensville came out loose and ready to play while Hamilton looked a bit tight. Stevensville won the first game but as the match went on, the roles reversed and Hamilton loosened up while Stevensville grew tighter. Hamilton kept the ball in play but limited Stevensville’s Kyla Paulsen’s touches as best they could. Hamilton went on to win and sent Stevensville home.
“The seniors, they are going to be tough to replace,” said O’Reilly of her Stevensville team. “They each bring a different component. There are a lot of things that I see we need to develop and then just building a team, that happens in the off season.”
Hamilton def. Stevensville, 17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20.
Kills – Stevensville 26 (Paulsen 10), Hamilton 42 (Gwynn 18). Blocks – Stevensville 14 (Mackinzie Zimmerman 6), Hamilton 9 (Jaylee Albert 2.5, Hurlbert 2.5). Digs – Stevensville 100 (Paulsen 21), Hamilton 92 (Albert 24). Assists – Stevensville 23 (Megan Elam 13), Hamilton 35 (Horvath 32). Aces – Stevensville 5 (Megan Finley 2), Hamilton 7 (Horvath 3).
The win gave Hamilton one more chance to advance. They had to take on Dillon and it was a tough match. The match went to five games with both teams battling for every point. Hamilton fell to Dillon and ended their season.
“We played hard, we gave it everything we had so I was proud of the girls because they really played hard to the end. It’s tough for seniors but we only have three seniors so the girls got some experience so hopefully next year we can get after it,” concluded Hamilton coach D’Ette Monson.
Dillon def. Hamilton, 25-22, 12-25, 25-20, 22-25, 16-14, loser out.
Kills – Dillon 61 (Pendleton 30), Hamilton 42 (Gwynn 23). Blocks – Dillon 4 (Pendleton 2), Hamilton 6.5 (Majors 3.5). Digs – Dillon 89 (Judge 22), Hamilton 85 (Casale 26). Assists – Dillon 56 (Morstein 52), Hamilton 32 (Horvath 29). Aces – Dillon 5 (Lamey 2), Hamilton 9 (Horvath 5).