Cowgirls collapse at District tourney

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Cowgirls collapse at District tourney
TIP IT BACK — Cowgirl junior Olivia Campbell tips a ball back in play against Cut Bank. The ball rolled down the top of the net for about two feet untouched and then fell in for a point in play on Friday. However, the Wolves took the match and stopped the season for Conrad. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
   The short season was at hand. There is almost no room for error and every game looms large.
   Conrad came into the Class 1B District tourney in the number two seed slot. The Cowgirls drew the ladies from Rocky Boy in the first round, played in Choteau.
   It was a good draw for Conrad. Rocky Boy was 0-12 in conference play and had won just three games during the season. Outside hitter, junior Olivia Campbell told the I-O before the game started, “We’re ready to play.”
   The starting lineup for Coach Dale Janzen saw four seniors,  Sam Fagan, Beth Grubb, Jenny Silvernale, and Alyssa Keil and two juniors Taylor Johnson and Campbell hit the floor. This was pretty much the ticket that got Conrad to the playoffs and through an 8-4 season.
   Rocky Boy wasn’t much competition for the Cowgirls. The team breezed to a quick win of the match, taking it in straight sets by scores of 25-10, 25-16, 25-9.
   After the first game, a lot of the front line varsity players became spectators as Coach Jensen got playing time in for other bench players.
   In the first game, a few of the highlights included a killer shot by Campbell off a set by Keil that left a Rocky Boy player just paralyzed as the ball zinged past her feet.
   Keil also made a sweet set for Fagan to blast back a kill shot. From the service line, Johnson went on an eight point scoring run that included an ace and then Fagan followed with a five point run and ace to cap the opening 25-10 win.
   In the second game, Brittany Greyn dished up a nifty assist for Grubb to pass back a kill shot. Alexis Samsal put over back-to-back aces, Kara Bandow ripped a nasty shot back to the Rocky Boy  team and Silvernale was doing the same.
   The Cowgirls put the rubber game away in quick fashion, 25-9.
   Silvernale and Campbell had big kill shots from the floor. Silvernale also blocked shots at the net and had an ace from the service line.
   It was all Conrad.
   Of the 26 kill shots, Silvernale put back six. She also blocked five shots at the net. Johnson dished up nine of 24 assists, Fagan and Bandow each led the way with three aces each and Grubb had 14-42 digs.
   That big win pitted the Cowgirls against the number three seed Fairfield in the late afternoon contest.
   Earlier Conrad had tumbled them out of second place in the conference and the Eagles exacted a measure of revenge at District, winning the match in straight games by scores of 25-9, 25-16, and 25-17.
   Silvernale had seven kill shots and six blocks. Johnson put up eight assists and 11 of 46 digs while Keil and Fagan each dropped in a pair of aces.     Grubb put up 10 digs, Campbell put over a couple of blocked shots and had three kills.
   Now the Cowgirls were in loser out action with Cut Bank in the Friday afternoon game.
   Sadly, the season came to an all-to-quick-end for the Cowgirls.
   The Lady Wolves dispatched the team in three games, sending the Cowgirls reeling to a six game losing streak to end their season.
   Cut Bank won by scores of 14-25, 16-25, 21-25.
   Campbell and Johnson dropped in a couple of ace serves, Silvernale continued to play well at the nets, popping back 6-17 kill shots and stopping 9-11 shots with blocks. Campbell slapped back five kill shots.
   Keil put up nine assists and had 13 digs. While Grubb led with 16 digs.
   While the V-ball season ended all too soon, the Cowgirls had a good run and provided a lot of “cool-beans” entertainment and responded well to a new coach.
   Nicely done ladies and Coach Janzen.