Monday, September 27, 2021
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Thompson Falls volleyball smacks Loyola Missoula

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | September 8, 2021 12:00 AM

There are many things that make volleyball an exciting sport.

If there is any doubt about that, witness the score of the first game of the Thursday night match between Thompson Falls and Missoula Loyola, a match won 3-1 by the home standing Lady Hawks.

One of the main rules of scoring in the game with the net stretched across the court is that each set must be won by two or more points.

First team to 25 points with a two-point lead wins the set in the quest to win the best three out of five scoring format. It is a rule to ensure a true and fair winner as well as enhance the thrill of competition.

In the first game of the Loyola-Thompson Falls match, that concept was on display with the intended outcome a clear “mission accomplished.”

Two teams with talented, athletic rosters among the most promising in this year’s Montana Class B volleyball season slugged it out, dug it out and took what looked to be a draw to the limit.

In the end, Loyola prevailED in a 32-30 opening set win on the Lady Hawks home court.

The equivalent of a set and a half played in the opening set put the sport and its beautiful nuances on full display.

The loser of such an opening round would no doubt be tired, discouraged and broken.

But not the Lady Blue Hawks.

Behind the all-around game of senior Elli Pardee, who had seven service aces, 15 kills, four blocks and 10 digs on the night, the Thompson Falls girls dug deep and rallied for a 25-13 win in set number two.

Along the way, Thompson Falls’ Cheyla Irvine would tally an eye-popping 32 assists to go with her eight digs. That kind of work aids and assists the scorers who put up the gaudy numbers.

The dramatic turn-around after the thrilling first set helped propel the Lady Blue Hawks to a 25-21 win in game three and a 25-20 win in game four to complete the 3-1 set tally and wrap up the early season win.

Joining Irvine and Pardee in double-figure numbers was junior newcomer Avery Burgess, a summertime transfer from Noxon who has quickly adapted and contributed to what is shaping up to be a playoff-caliber team.

As a team, the Blue Hawks had 12 service aces, 42 total kills, 37 assists, blocked eight shots and recorded 34 digs.

The win over Loyola squared Thompson Falls’ season record at 1-1 following a loss last week to Florence.

The Lady Blue Hawks are off until Saturday, Sept. 11 when they travel to Deer Lodge and Anaconda for a pair of road games on the same day.