Lady Bulldogs focus on consistency after suffering double losses

Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Photo by Andrew Turck

Outside hitter Nicole Green bumps the ball last Thursday in an away game against the Billings Central Rams. Despite good work in defense, communication and energy, outside hitter Mariah Simmons said, Hardin fell to Central in three sets.

Article Image Alt Text

Photo by Andrew Turck

Middle hitter Jonna Lind (wearing a headband) celebrates with her Hardin teammates following a somewhat cobbled-together point against the Rams.

Victories weren’t to be had last week for the Lady Bulldog volleyball team, who fell first to Billings Central in an away game on Thursday, Sept. 13, then to Glendive at home on Saturday.

According to Hardin Head Coach Tiffany Lynch, Billings Central’s Lady Rams play more consistently than Hardin, who had “a lot of ups and downs during the game.” Not helping matters for the Ladies was Billings Central’s outside hitter Olivia Moten-Schell – a challenge for Hardin both this season and in 2017 – who rained down 21 of the Rams’ 37 total kills.

“We would get about halfway through the set and then we would taper off,” Lynch said. “We didn’t finish strong.

“It’s about Point 14 when they start falling apart.”

Despite the loss, Hardin middle hitter Mariah Simmons said her team “did a lot of things right” in defense, communication and energy.

“We just didn’t pull it together at the end,” she said.

Hardin fell to Central in three sets with scores of 13-25, 20-25 and 17-25.

The Ladies’ next game that week against Glendive’s Red Devils began on an “off” note, according to outside hitter Demi Uffelman.

“It wasn’t the usual environment we have on our court with each other as a team,” she said.

“We were really slow and there was no energy in the first two sets,” Simmons added.

In the last three sets, however, Lynch said “they played really well.”

“Defensively against Glendive – holy smokes – we got some balls over that Glendive was surprised by, everybody in the gym was surprised by,” Lynch said of the final three sets. “In the last three, it was definitely scrappy.”

Still, she continued, “super inconsistent.”

Final scores for the Glendive game were 17-25, 26-28, 25-12, 25-21 and 12-15.

To improve team consistency, Lynch said, the Ladies will be “upping the intensity in practice” so they can maintain a strong level of play for all three to five sets. Hardin’s second row often is solid defensively, she added, but blocking needs to improve up front.

This Thursday, Hardin will play Lewistown in an away game, followed by a home competition against Belgrade on Saturday.