TIP IT OVER — Ciara Bender tips the volleyball up and over the net against the Lady Coyote defenders during the Tuesday night home opener. I-O Photo by Deanna Wakkinen
The Conrad volleyball team made the trip to Choteau on Sept. 26- 27, to mixed reviews.
The Cowgirls went into the tournament without starting setter Brittany Greyn, who had injured her ankle just two practices before, and were facing stiff competition in the first round.
The Conrad team opened play with Red Lodge, two-time state runner-up, then went on to face pre-season 2B favorite Glasgow, next was two-time state third place finisher, Choteau, and finally another state participant, Three Forks.
Coach Dale Janzen had wanted to play some top notch teams, but with a banged up squad, had a rough time in that first round.
In the second round of play the Cowgirls began getting used to their new setter sophomore, Hayley Orcutt and began to fair a bit better. They split their games with Jefferson, beat White Hall, split with the Glasgow team that had beaten them in the first round, and lost to Missoula Loyola.
The coaches were much happier with the play of the Cowgirls in this round as they seemed to settle down a little. However…in the 2nd game with Glasgow, setter Hayley Orcutt went down with an ankle injury! Now Conrad was down two setters.
The third round was again getting used to another setter as Justine Desjardin was put into action. Conrad opened this round with White Hall and again beat them, next was a strong Manhattan team and the Cowgirls lost in close play. Next was Ennis and now some fatigue was beginning to show as this was the 11th match of the tourney for Conrad. Ennis was able to stay ahead and hang on for the win. The last match of the tournament for Conrad was with arch rival Shelby, and the Cowgirls split with the Coyotes.
Coach Janzen went on to say that there was a lot that the girls had to work on, especially their passing. But considering the injuries we had the girls hung in there and worked hard. Janzen was very pleased with the attitude of the team and the leadership that emerged during the weekend. These are two things that the team struggled with last year.
The Cowgirls headed to Chinook for another tournament Sept. 2-3 and started conference play at home on Sept. 6 when they took on Shelby.
Team statistics for Choteau Tournament went like this:
Aces: Kristine Warlick-17; Taylor Judisch-10; Moranda Brenteson-9.
Assists: Hayley Orcutt-35; Justine Dejardin-32; Brittany Greyn-15.
Kills: Judisch-35; Rashelle Johns-24; Brenteson-18.
Digs: Judisch 43; Brenteson 40; Shanae Newmiller-39.
Blocks: Johns-34, Brenteson-33; Ciara Bender-21.
Over the weekend the team was in Chinook for an invitational tournament.
In Pool B play, after four games on Friday Conrad was tied on top of the pack with host Chinook with a 4-1 record.
They fell to Cut Bank early, 30-25, making the game close by scoring 11 straight points before being stopped by the Wolves. They bounced back to take wins over Highwood 30-19, Glasgow 30-26, Wolf Point 30-11 and Chinook 30-26.
Then on Saturday the team defeated Malta 2-0 in the quarterfinals, fell to Cut Bank in the semi-finals 2-0, rallied back to again stop Glasgow 2-1 to get in the finals to play for third or fourth place. They played Fairfield.
The Lady Eagles came on to stop Conrad in two games, 25-21, 25-13.
Coach Janzen was pleased to see that the team played better together than the week before and that their passing, “although not where we want to be, was improved from the Choteau tournament.”
He went on to add, “I am pleased to see that they are going to have a balanced attack this year with five players all able to hit the ball well and give setter Greyn a lot more options to set to.”
Team statistics from Chinook looked like this:
Aces, Greyn and Judisch 10 each; Bender and Johns seven each; blocks, Johns 29, Bender 25, Brenteson 21; kills Judisch 38, Johns 27, Newmiller 23; assists, Greyn 82, Bender 11.
The Cowgirls opened at home on Tuesday with Shelby and will play rival Choteau on Friday in a big match up of Class B powers.