Hot Springs volleyball team bows out of district tournament

| November 11, 2020 12:00 AM

By CHUCK BANDEL

Valley Press

As is always the case in championship playoff games, teams move on and others are left to reflect on the season.

Looking back on the 2020 Montana Volleyball season, the Hot Springs Lady Savage Heat will have their “what if” moments. But they will also have a lot of good memories and an optimistic outlook for next year.

The what if moments will involve their games with local nemesis Charlo.

In the consolation final round of the Western C divisional tournament, the Lady Vikings once again proved to be a mountain too high to climb for the Hot Springs squad.

Charlo, coming off its first loss of the year Thursday night to eventual divisional champion Manhattan Christian, bounced back at the expense of Hot Springs for a 3-0 consolation match win that kept alive their state playoff aspirations.

As was the case in the three previous matches between Hot Springs and Charlo, the Lady Viking depth and experience was too much to overcome.

The Lady Vikings took the first set 25-6, the second 25-16 and secured the match and season sweep of the Heat with a 25-14 win in match three.

The win moved Charlo into a Monday night challenge game against Lone Peak, which earlier in the week sent Hot Springs into the consolation round of the tournament in a match played Thursday night in Hot Springs.

Against Lone Peak, Hot Springs could not equal the experience and all-around play of the Lady Big Horns, who won the match 3-0.

In the opening set of the match, Lone Peak jumped to an early lead and never trailed as they rolled to a 25-16 opening set win. The Big Horns, from the Gallatin Gateway area of the state, broke away from a 10-10 tie midway through the game and never trailed again.

Hot Springs fought hard behind the thundering kill shots from junior’s Lily Winn and Katelyn Christensen but to no avail against the Big Horns, who have seven talented seniors on their roster.

Near the end of the opening set, Hot Springs suffered a blow to its hopes when senior Emma Rassmussen suffered a lower leg injury that would sideline her for the rest of the match.

Game two was a hard-fought battle, featuring several outstanding plays at the net by both teams, including a crowd-pleasing block early on by Savage Heat senior Savannah Roosma that created that set’s last tie at 6-6.

From there the Lady Big Horns once again pulled away, building a 17-8 lead. Hot Springs battled back to close the gap to 20-19 but the Lady Savage Heat could not score the rest of the way as Lone Peak took the second set 25-19.

Game three started well for the host Savage Heat as they held an early lead for the first time in the match. However, Lone Peak rallied and went ahead 6-5 and never looked back on their way to a 25-17 set victory and a 3-0 match sweep.

Christensen and Winn, two talented returnees for next year, recorded eight kill shots each during the match. The dynamic duo also had two blocked shots each, while Christensen added four digs to her game totals.

Roosma finished the match with three kills, four assists and two blocks, while senior teammate Lizzy Fisher chipped in five assists to lead the Lady Savage Heat in that category.

Hot Springs moved into the second round of the tournament when its scheduled first round matchup was cancelled for undisclosed reasons as Gardiner forfeited the match, which was scheduled for Tuesday night in Hot Springs.