By Daneta Turnbull
In a year of highs and lows, frustrations and elations, the Lady Mustangs entered the Western Trails Conference Tournament Saturday determined to bring home a medal! The format of this year’s tournament was such that if you lost your first match you were eliminated from the tournament.
First up for the Mustangs were the Bayard Tigers. The Tigers are a very scrappy team, and the Mustangs knew they had to play their A game. The 3 sets against Bayard were hot and cold sets for both teams, but fortunately for the Mustangs, they played hotter for two sets than did the Tigers! The Mustangs won in set scores of 25-23, 18-25, 25-17.
Next up for the Mustangs were the Lady Tigers from Mitchell, as Mitchell had defeated Morrill in 3 sets. This game will definitely not go down on the list of “wanting to be sure to remember!” Set 1 started out strong for the Mustangs and the two teams battled back and forth with several lead changes early on. Mitchell took control towards the end capitalizing off the Mustangs errors and won game one 17-25. Set 2 is one the Mustangs will likely soon want to forget! It was as if someone let the air out of all the tires at the same time and nothing could budge! This was one of those “what just happened” events that you just have to pick up and move on from. Mitchell won game two 25-5. Coach Campbell commented, “we struggled in all aspects of the game at different times! One minute our passing was on, but our setting was off. The next minute our passing and setting was on, but our hits were in the net or out of bounds. It was very frustrating to stand by and watch. Coach Lovell and I tried everything we could think of to snap them out of it, but it wasn’t happening! However we told the girls in the locker room after the game, they had a choice, they could get things figured out, move on and fix them, or they could continue to be in a funk of not talking, not moving their feet and not working together, and it could be a long day. This is a good group of kids so we were pretty hopeful as to what choice they would make and what kind of attitude they would bounce back with for the consolation match.”
In the consolation match the Mustangs met up with the Bridgeport Bulldogs. Bridgeport defeated the tournament host, Hemingford, in round one and then lost to Kimball in their next match. The Mustangs came out fired up and ready to play, they looked like a different team from the previous match. Set one was an exciting back and forth battle with the Mustangs coming out on top 25-23. Set 2 Bridgeport jumped out and took control from the start and won 25-13. The ladies from Gordon-Rushville knew that there was hardware on the line and fought back in set three to take the Third place title 25-18. Campbell commented, “I was very pleased with the way the kids bounced back. Bridgeport is a scrappy team with some solid hitters. They too are having a kind of up and down year, and they are much better than their record shows, so I told the kids they were in for a battle and were going to have to be firing on all cylinders.”
“The talking and movement was MUCH improved from the Mitchell match. We also cut down on a lot of unforced errors. A combination of the three lead to victory and it ended the day on a positive note.”
Cirsten Hinn, Hali Sahr, and Cali Mulcahy did a great job for the Mustangs defensively. Sara Marlatt, Dani Campbell, Brandi Roth, and Brittany Hoagland came through for the Mustangs on the hitting end, while Denie Jacobson and Morgan Sones put the ball up where the hitters needed it. Teammates Kylee Giles and Mariah Linders pushed their fellow Mustangs to work harder. It was a great team effort and together with their coaches the Mustangs brought home the 3rd place title and hardware! Way to go Mustangs!
Tuesday, October 22, the Mustangs hosted a triangular with Mitchell and Bridgeport. Results will be in next week’s paper. Next Tuesday, October 30, the Mustangs will be in action at Sub-Districts. Official seeding has not come out yet, but Coach Campbell is estimating by wild card points at this time that the Mustangs will face the Chadron Cardinals for the first round of Sub-District action. Sub-districts will be at the Alliance High School Gym. Come out and support these fine young women and their coaches as this year’s volleyball season begins to wind down. GO MUSTANGS!
Stats from the Consolation Match versus Bridgeport include: Blocks: Hoagland 1, Marlatt 2, Campbell 2 Assists: Sones 13, Jacobson 7 Kills: Sones 1, Jacobson 2, Hoagland 4, Marlatt 10, Roth 5, Campbell 4 Digs: Sones 10, Hoagland 5, Marlatt 7, Jacobson 5, Roth 8, Hinn 11, Mulcahy 6, Sahr 5 Ace Serves: Sones 3, Hoagland 2, Hinn 2.