Lady Bulldogs drop two on the road

Thursday, October 18, 2018
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The Hardin Lady Bulldog volleyball team traveled to Sidney and Glendive this past week to face off against two of their conference rivals. The Bulldogs had yet to face Sidney this year, and they found the match-up to be difficult.

“We hadn’t really seen them a whole lot,” Hardin’s Head Coach Tiffany Lynch said of the Eagles. “We knew that they were young and that their setter was kind of their best player.”

The Bulldogs went into that match knowing they would have to overcome their own expectations. “Our big focus was working together and trying to get ourselves out of that slump,” Lynch said, referring to the Bulldogs’ recent losses.

In the five-set loss to the Eagles, both Lynch and libero Katie Murdock keyed in on the difficulty of playing before an exceptionally loud audience.

“With that game, the mental aspect was evident,” Lynch said. “They had a huge student section – the best student section we’d seen.”

When the Lady Bulldogs were in their own end, they won the sets easily. However, when they played on the side closer to the student section, they were beaten.

“I feel like we played together,” Murdock said. “The ones we did win, we played really well together.”

Topping Hardin’s stats, Murdock accounted for 23 of 84 digs against Sidney, while underclassman Le-Faye Russell made half of her team’s six blocks. Of the 11 aces posted by the Lady Bulldogs, Demi Uffelman and Shaunita Nomee earned three apiece. Uffelman also took 19 of her team’s 50 kills.

In the match against Glendive, the stats looked worse, although the Bulldogs did execute their strategy for the game. That strategy, according to Murdock, was to “focus a lot on the outside, because they have a strong outside hitter.”

The Bulldogs knew that Glendive would try to target the back-right area of the court, something for which the Red Devils are well known, and the Ladies were prepared. Nomee and Natalie Edgar were the players credited with fighting off this attack. Edgar accounted for 18 of the team’s 20 assists in that match, and middle hitter Alyssa Pretty Weasel, who made two of the team’s five blocks, credited her teammate Russell for having stepped up well from the JV squad.

“LeFaye came up with zero varsity experience,” Lynch added. “Another one coming up from JV who’s really stepped it up is Kailee Roan. Defensively, she just went in, even though she doesn’t have a lot of experience.”

Looking forward, the Ladies are going to be faced with difficult practice in preparation for their divisional matches.

“We’re going to work on just working hard, just grinding,” Lynch said. “So we’re going to make practice hard – mentally difficult for the girls to get through. They’re going to have to be mentally strong to survive a practice.”

This Thursday, Hardin will face the Billings Central Rams at home.