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Lady Hawks sweep Deer Lodge, fall to Anaconda

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | September 14, 2022 12:00 AM

Some days things just don’t go the way you were hoping they would.

Case in point: the Thompson Falls High volleyball team rolled into their home gym riding a three game winning streak and looking like conference contenders once again.

Prior to Saturday’s meeting with 1-1 Anaconda, the Lady Hawks had swept all three of their first opponents without losing a set.

A large crowd had gathered to see their hometown heronettes.

But the Lady Copperheads had other ideas and took advantage of an off day by the tall and talented T Falls crew as they recorded a match sweep, winning all three sets 25-14, 25-10 and 25-23.

The Lady Hawks looked tired from the onset, having played Deer Lodge the night before and swept the Lady Wardens.

The first two sets, in fact, went to Anaconda in relatively easy fashion, before T Falls reached deep and fought with all they had before losing by two points in the final set.

Fans should not be alarmed: this is a talented and loaded team and like every other sports team in the history of sports has an off day now and then.

Well, maybe not the 1972 Miami Dolphins but who has gone unbeaten in the NFL since then? And to be fair, Anaconda is a pretty good team by their own rights.

So, when the Lady Hawks fell behind early in the first set, the aura of confidence that fills the Thompson Falls gym did not wane.

Not even as the Lady Copperheads opened up a 12 point lead midway through Set one.

Set two began with a 2-2 tie before Anaconda rolled off seven points to go up 9-4. The normally solid T Falls defense was just not as sharp as usual and the Lady Hawks could not overcome the early set deficit. As a result, they fell behind 2-0 for the match.

But with the energy that is Avery Burgess, who was returning hard kill shots and blocking Anaconda shots, joined by solid play at the net from Ellie Baxter, the Lady Hawks squeaked ahead 7-6, their first lead of the match.

And every time Thompson Falls tried to pull away after that, Anaconda seemed able to come up with the answer and stayed close into the final points of set three.

There were four late set ties, the last one at 20-20, before the Lady Copperheads finally overtook the Lady Hawks and hung on for the 25-23 win as a stunned crowd headed toward the exit.

Burgess recorded seven kills and had two blocks for the Lady Hawks, while teammate Cheyla Irvine contributed nine assists to go with the three aces, seven kills and six digs effort from Natalie Roberts.

The night before, Thompson Falls squared off with 2-0 Powell County on the Lady Hawks home court. The Lady Hawks rolled to an early and comfortable 25-12 win in the first set before things got interesting.

The Lady Wardens came to life after their sluggish start and battled back and forth with the home team before finally succumbing by a 25-23 score, giving T Falls a two-set match lead.

Deer Lodge continued to fight hard in what was the third and final set, eventually falling to the Lady Hawks 25-21.

Against Anaconda, Burgess had eight kills, while Olivia Harnett chipped in nine assists.

This week the Lady Hawks hit the road for a pair of away games, stopping in Eureka for a Thursday night game, then traveling to Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho for a Saturday night match.

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