Monday, September 27, 2021

Superior volleyball races past short-handed Hot Springs

| September 8, 2021 12:00 AM

There are six players per side in a volleyball match, such as the one played Thursday evening between the Superior Lady Bobcats and the home-standing Hot Springs Lady Savage Heat, an encounter won by the visitors, 3-0.

The Lady Cats used a multi-pronged attack led by senior standout Sorren Reese to hand the host team the Montana Western conference loss.

Hot Springs used every player it had to make it difficult for Superior.

Unfortunately for the Lady Savage Heat, six players were all it had to combat the talented and deep team from Superior, which recorded a 25-21, 25-7 and 25-22 three-set sweep before an appreciative crowd of fans from both schools.

Reese wracked up a match-high 15 kills in leading the Lady Bobcats to the win.

With just seven players on their roster, Hot Springs could ill-afford an injury or illness that would mean the remaining six players would be required to play the entire match without substitutions and the valuable rest it brings.

Seven players donned the red and black uniforms for the host team, but one was scratched by an apparent leg injury during pre-match warm-ups.

That left the fate of the Savage Heat, who have been very competitive in early season matches with just the “magnificent seven” from which to field a starting six.

Led by senior Lily Winn and Moira Lonergan, Hot Springs made an exciting match out of what could have been a route.

The tall and athletic Lady Bobcats were stretched to the max in the opening set.

With Winn controlling the front and Lonergan digging several hard shots from the Superior half-dozen, Hot Springs had the first lead of the night at 5-2 before Superior pulled even and took it’s first lead of the match at 8-7.

In an opening set that would be tied eight times, Superior eventually pulled away from a 20-20 tie and scored four of the final five set points to give the Lady Bobcats a 1-0 match lead.

The fast-paced action of the first set appeared to have taken its toll on the Lady Savage Heat, as Superior opened the second game with a run that propelled them to a quick 5-1 lead.

Hot Springs could pull no closer the rest of the way as Superior rattled off 11 straight points to build a 22-5 lead and coast to a convincing 2-0 set lead.

In addition to Reese’s impressive stats, the Lady Bobcats got a match-leading 12 digs from sophomore Lanie Crabb, while diminutive junior Brooke Bibler added eight assits and four digs to the Superior effort.

But if the Hot Springs six were worn out, they showed the hometown fans and the sizable contingent from Superior that they still had some gas in the tank.

The third set opening with a high arching ball that nearly touched the roof of the Hot Springs gym before it fell for a Lady Savage Heat 1-0 lead.

Behind the at-the-net play of Winn, the Savage Six fought their way to a quick 12-3 lead.

A pair of soft touch tip shots by Reese pulled the visitors within five at 14-9.

At that point, Superior began to methodically dig away at the Hot Springs lead and behind yet another pair of hard kill shots from Reese, the Lady Bobcats took a 20-19 lead.

They would hold the lead the rest of the way, and with the score in their favor at 24-22, Superior took advantage of an errant Hot Springs serve to clinch the third set and secure the 3-0 match sweep.

The Lady Heat will rest for a few days before regrouping and taking their limited roster to Charlo for an evening match this Tuesday (September 7). The Lady Bobcats returned to action this Saturday afternoon with a 4 p.m. match against the Noxon Lady Red Devils.