Hot Springs spikers top Arlee, fall to Charlo

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  • Hot Springs junior McKennzie Cannon tips the ball over an attempted block by Kira McPhail of Charlo. The Lady Savage Heat won the first set, but Charlo took the next three to stay unbeaten on the season. (Joe Sova photos/Clark Fork Valley Press)

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    Sydney Jackson serves during Hot Springs’ match against unbeaten Charlo last Saturday evening. The Lady Vikings won in four sets.

  • Hot Springs junior McKennzie Cannon tips the ball over an attempted block by Kira McPhail of Charlo. The Lady Savage Heat won the first set, but Charlo took the next three to stay unbeaten on the season. (Joe Sova photos/Clark Fork Valley Press)

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    Sydney Jackson serves during Hot Springs’ match against unbeaten Charlo last Saturday evening. The Lady Vikings won in four sets.

Postseason play in Montana high school volleyball begins next week, and Hot Springs will likely have the No. 3 seed in the District 14C Tournament on the Lady Savage Heat’s home court. That tourney is set for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 25 and 26.

It appears undefeated Charlo and Arlee will have the top two seeds in the six-team tourney. While Hot Springs had just non-conference Darby on the regular season schedule (Tuesday), Charlo and Arlee each have two divisional matches remaining. Also on Tuesday, Charlo was at Noxon and Arlee at Plains. This Thursday, Arlee plays at Charlo.

Hot Springs split with the Lake County teams last week. The Lady Savage Heat rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to edge Arlee on Thursday at Arlee. Set scores were 25-23, 21-25, 19-25, 25-22 and 15-10. Saturday in Hot Springs, Charlo dropped the first set, then won the next three. Scores were 20-25, 25-22, 25-12 and 25-22.

“Our motto is to ‘never say die,’” Hot Springs coach Alisha Pablo said. “This is a group that doesn’t like to lose. They do well putting things in the past. They make a mistake and get back in there. We always try to cut it off at three mistakes … It was really a team effort.”

Katelyn Christensen led Hot Springs with 17 kills, and McKennzie Cannon had seven blocks. Sydney Jackson dished out 28 assists, and Sage Jackson had 25 digs.

CANNON PROVIDED a good spark early, especially at the service line, in Hot Springs’ match against unbeaten Charlo, leading the Lady Heat to the first-set win. She had two late aces.

“They were pretty confident,” Pablo said. “It was exciting for them.”

Behind the overall play of senior Kaitlin Cox, Charlo built a seven-point lead in the second set, then held on to even the match. After an 8-8 tie in the third set, the Lady Vikings eased to the win. Sophomore middle blocker Liev Smith sparked Charlo at the net as her team broke away from an 18-all tie to squeeze out a three-point win to seal the match.

“They’re really coming on,” Pablo said of her team. “Our net play, we come back down and play after being blocked. They really attacked the net.”

Pablo had praise for Cannon and the Jackson sisters for their overall play.

Cannon was credited with 11 blocks, 18 digs and three aces. Christensen led in kills with nine, and Sydney Jackson had 15 assists.

Charlo had a lineup change for the Hot Springs match, since their starting libero was unavailable for action.

Cox, who stands about 5-3, used her impressive elevation near the net to claim 24 kills for Charlo, and she had 19 digs.

“She is difficult to play against, and fun to watch,” Pablo said of Cox.

Teaira Truman had 39 assists for the Lady Vikes and Kira McPhail led in aces with five.

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